Suree Towfighnia, Director / Producer / Camera
Suree Towfighnia is a director, producer, DP, and documentary educator from Chicago, IL. Her company, Prairie Dust Films, directed Standing Silent Nation which was broadcast on POV and garnered many awards in competitions and festivals. Suree recently produced the Haskell Wexler documentary Four Days in Chicago. Suree's thesis, Tampico, about a Chicago street performer, won the Studs Terkel Award for Community Media. As a documentary educator, Suree teaches at universities, for non-profits and internationally at EICTV film school in Cuba; and in artis integration programs with the Chicago Public Schools (project AIM) and Chicago hospitals (Snow City Arts). She began the Lakota Media Project (LMP) in 2003 to train Lakota girls and women dedicated to telling their own documentary stories. Suree has been working on documentary and community building since 1997.
Debra White Plume, Consulting Producer
Debra was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota. Debra has been involved in Lakota cultural preservation and revitalization work her entire adult life, including work to protect Treaty Rights and Human Rights. She has been an active community organizer around such issues for 40 years, from the grassroots level to the United Nations, where she participated in the drafting of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples and Issues. She lives along the banks of Wounded Knee Creek with Alex, her husband of 30 years, where they raise horses and provide stewardship to the small buffalo herd kept for spiritual and cultural purposes. Debra earned undergraduate degrees from the Oglala Lakota College on the Pine Ridge Reservation. She is Director of Owe Aku / Bring Back the Way.
Tantoo Cardinal, Narrator
An accomplished and celebrated actress, Tantoo Cardinal has advanced Aboriginal performing arts throughout the world. Known for her authenticity, she has brought to life complex and diverse Aboriginal characters and has worked to dispel stereotypes. Her performances on stage and in both film and television have helped to blaze a trail in an industry where few roles for Aboriginal women previously existed.
In 2010 Tantoo was inducted as a Member into the Order of Canada for her outstanding contributions. Other honours include a National Aboriginal Achievement award, the Harvard University Sunhill Award for excellence in Aboriginal film making and four honorary doctorates.
Sharon Karp, Editor
Sharon Karp has edited documentaries for over forty years, beginning with the original Kartemquin collective. Sharon recently directed and edited A Song For You, about her family's heroic escape from the Nazi's. Among her award-winning films are the Emmy-nominated Silent Pioneers, Chicago Film Festival Silver Hugo Winner The Chicago Maternity Center Story, and Return of Navajo Boy, a Sundance Film Festival official selection. Her most recent projects include Standing Silent Nation, a Pare Lorenz nominee, The Innocent, winner of the Crystal Heart Award for documentary feature, about people wrongly sentenced to death, and Burnt Oranges, winner of the Cine Golden Eagle Award, about state terrorism in Argentina during the 1970's. Sharon owns aMedia Monster in Chicago, IL, which provides full-service production and editing services.
Courtney Hermann, Co-Producer
Courtney Hermann is an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker and film and video educator from Portland, Oregon. Her most recent independent films include Exotic World and the Burlesque Revival (2012), and Standing Silent Nation (2007). Exotic World and the Burlesque Revival (2012) enjoyed a World Premiere in Summer 2012 at dOCUMENTA13, in Kassel, Germany, and is currently in film festival and DVD distribution. Standing Silent Nation (2007) aired nationally on PBS’s Emmy-award winning documentary series, POV, was favorably reviewed by The New York Times, and won the audience award at several film festivals, including the Sedona International Film Festival. The film was featured daily at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. in July 2008.
Rosebud White Plume, Lakota Media Project
Rosebud is Oglala Lakota, and has been involved in film making since her teenage years, creating video shorts on Lakota Way of Life, as well as videos which reflect current social issues on her homeland. She utilizes social media to educate and inform her peers and many relatives. After elementary school, Rosebud was home schooled by her parents and older siblings. She has performed the pow-wow Fancy Dance in dance troupes across America, sharing her Lakota music and dance. Rosebud toured Europe with her father, Alex, promoting Industrial Hemp as a solution to the fossil fuel industry and a land friendly agricultural option. Rosebud is a stay at home wife and mother, raising her children in the Lakota Way of Life.
Reuben Cruz, Writer / Outreach / Graphics
Reuben is a Pee Posh, Maricopa, Quechan father/musician/poet/organizer/humanist from the Gila River Nation near Phoenix, AZ. He documents stories of love and circumstance gathered from places he’s seen or lived. As an emcee (Che Christ), he uses his storytelling skills to bring messages of social justice and respect for all peoples through positive hip-hop music. Reuben teaches writing workshops with youth in urban centers and in Native communities. He collaborates on events that use film, art and music to celebrate contemporary activist movements. As a member of Prairie Dust Films, Reuben works as story consultant, writer, sound recordist, artist and post-production assistant on feature documentaries, including, Crying Earth Rise Up. He is also involved in outreach with Standing Silent Nation.
About Prairie Dust Films
Founded in 2002, the mission of Prairie Dust Films is to create media that engages audiences and inspires creative solutions for positive social change. We collaborate with musicians, artists, designers and educators to reach new audiences. Our films have screened in festivals, at schools, libraries, museums, community centers and on national television. Aside from our film work, Prairie Dust Films mentors Native youth in the Lakota Media Project.
About Owe Aku
Owe Aku works to bring back our way of life which includes humanity’s role in nature: we are a part of it, not outside of it, not having dominion over it. To achieve this Owe Aku works to stop mining that contaminates our water and land. Owe Aku has reestablished programs that utilize the wisdom of our ancestors in combatting the effects of inter-generational trauma caused by colonization and the intentional attempts for hundreds of years to destroy our culture.
About Vision Maker Media
Vision Maker Media shares Native stories with the world that represent the cultures, experiences, and values of American Indians and Alaska Natives.
About The Lakota Media Project
An initiative of Owe Aku and Prairie Dust Films, the LMP began in 2003 to mentor Lakota youth and women on documentary filmmaking. The LMP creates projects that complement social justice and activism work happening on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The work of LMP on different issues benefits the Tribal Nations’ population and beyond, through the distribution of educational materials about Native issues from a Native perspective with a Native voice. Although LMP suffered a devastating loss when they lost almost all their equipment, footage and archives in a house fire in 2007, the stories exist in the minds of participants and their activism continues. Little by little the work goes on. The Lakota Media Project is collaborating on Crying Earth Rise Up. They work on production, editing, and music.
Prairie Dust Films
cryingearthriseupfilm @ gmail dot com