Young Lakota

Dir. Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt

Status: COMPLETED
2012

How did we help:
  • Development
  • Production
  • Outreach
  • Good Pitch

Director Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt
Completed 2012 Runtime 75


SYNOPSIS

When Cecelia Fire Thunder, the Oglala Sioux tribe’s first female President, challenges a South Dakota law criminalizing abortion, she ignites a political firestorm that sets off a chain reaction in the lives of three young Lakotas on the Pine Ridge Reservation, forcing them to make choices that define who they are.

Long Synopsis

The Pine Ridge Reservation is no stranger to strife and heartbreak, stark realities and inspired idealism. In Young Lakota, we are brought directly into the emotional and often uncertain journey of Sunny Clifford, her twin sister Serena, and their politically ambitious friend Brandon Ferguson, who all share the compelling desire to make a difference for themselves and their community.

Their political awakening begins when Cecelia Fire Thunder, the first female president of their tribe, defies a proposed South Dakota law criminalizing all abortion by threatening to build a women’s clinic on the sovereign territory of the reservation. Sunny, just back on the reservation after two years in college, Serena, unwed and with a toddler, and Brendan with two little boys, find themselves immersed in this political battle as they struggle between opportunity and principle; between selling out or staying the course through twists and turns that they could not have anticipated.

This is a uniquely sensitive portrayal of bright young people finding their way, as the film follows the surprising highs and lows of the statewide referendum on abortion and a divisive tribal election. Young Lakota tells the tale of the diverging paths Brandon and Sunny begin to take. Ultimately it is the complex interplay of personal choice, and cultural, economic and political circumstance that defines who they are and what kind of adults they are becoming. Beyond the divisiveness and turmoil, the stark disappointments and heady triumphs, Sunny’s courage and Cecelia Fire Thunder’s wisdom gives Young Lakota a sense of enduring possibility and of life being lived deeply that will resonate with any audience.

Outreach Work Supported

Coalition building, workshops, activism and youth work.


What people
have said

A rare glimpse into Pine Ridge that celebrates the resistance and complexity of the Oglala Lakota who live there

The Nation
Watch the
trailer here