DER Documentary

Standing Silent Nation

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by Courtney Hermann and Suree Towfighnia
color, 53 min, 2007

Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
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What does a family have to endure to create a future for itself?

When the Oglala Sioux Tribe passed an ordinance separating industrial hemp from its illegal cousin, marijuana, Alex White Plume and his family glimpsed a brighter future.

Having researched hemp as a sustainable crop that would grow in the inhospitable soil of the South Dakota Badlands, the White Plumes envisioned a new economy that would impact the 85% unemployment rate on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

They never dreamed they would find themselves swept up in a struggle over tribal sovereignty, economic rights, and common sense.

From the hemp fields of Pine Ridge to the US Federal Court of Appeals, the one-hour documentary Standing Silent Nation tracks one family's effort to create economic independence for themselves, their reservation, and their future generations.

The hemp plant is like a new buffalo for the Lakota: a resource whose many uses from food to fuel to fiber, could enrich their sovereign nation. For three years, Alex White Plume and his family planted industrial hemp. But each year, their harvest was disrupted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which claims that hemp is marijuana despite the absence of marijuana's psychoactive properties.

Standing Silent Nation challenges contemporary notions of Native America, while providing a compelling and engaging story rarely covered in mainstream media.

This film is made possible with the support of Native American Public Telecommunications, the Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media, the Playboy Foundation, and many others who have donated to the project over the years.

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Best Native American Documentary, Indie Spirit Film Festival, 2008
Audience Award for Best Documentary, Big Muddy Film Festival, 2008
Audience Choice for Best Documentary, Sedona, 2008
UFVA Best Documentary Faculty Award, Courtney Hermann, 2008
Global Green Indigenous Film Festival, Santa Fe, NM 2008
Breckenridge Festival of Film, 2008
Human Rights Justice Festival, 2008
First Peoples' Festival Montreal Native Film & Video Showcase, 2008
Talking Stick Film Festival, 2008
Red Rock Film Festival of Zion Canyon, 2008
Art & Tur International Film Festival, 2008
Society for Visual Anthropology/American Anthropological Association Conference, San Francisco, 2008
International Festival of Films on Tribal Art & Culture, India, 2008
Quebec International Ethnographic Film Festival, Canada, 2008
Honorable Mention Best Documentary, Accolades Awards, 2007
Stony Award for Best Documentary of the Year, High Times Magazine, 2007
Pare Lorentz Award Nominee, International Documentary Association, 2007
Taos Mountain Film Festival, 2007
Austin Film Festival, 2007
Maryland Film Festival, 2007
Palm Springs Native American Film Festival 2007
Takoma Park Film Festival, MD, 2007
Glenn & Viola Walters Cultural Arts Center, Hillsboro, OR, 2007
Missoula Hempfest, Missoula, MT, 2007
POV National Broadcast on PBS, 2007
Solstice Shakedown: Black Hills Sustainable Living Festival, Sturgis, SD, 2007
Reeltime Independent Film & Video Forum, Evanston Public Library, Evanston, IL, 2007
Film for Thought Series, Transitions Bookplace, Chicago, IL, 2007
Hemp Hoe Down, Elkview Campground Near Sturgis, SD, 2007
Maryland Film Festival The Charles Theater, Baltimore, MD, 2007
Jerusalem Project Screening, Wheaton College, IL, 2007
Pre-Release Screening and Fundraiser, Columbia College, Chicago, IL, 2007
Pre-Release Screening, Johnson State College, Johnson, VT, 2007
Palm Springs Native American Film Festival, 2007
Pre-Release Screening and Fundraiser, Hollywood Theater, Portland, OR, 2007
Special Sneak Preview Screening, Native Voice Film Festival, Rapid City, SD 2006
Pre-Release Screening, Mt. Carmel Lutheran Church, Portland, OR, 2006

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