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FEATURE DOCUMENTARY 80 Minutes New York Premiere

When a ruinous, debilitating personal loss alters your very existence, how do you go on and continue to make a difference in the world? Heather Rae's answer comes in the form of a lush, lyrical examination of thirteen years in the life of legendary Native American poet and activist John Trudell. A modern day philosopher, Trudell began his career of activism in the late 1960s, but his tenure as the national spokesman for the American Indian Movement (AIM) is what earned him a rep as a highly volatile political "subversive" in the 1970's, complete with one of the longest FBI files in history-over 17,000 pages. In 1979, while protesting U.S. government policy on American Indians, Trudell burned an American flag on the steps of FBI headquarters in Washington D.C. Literally within hours, his pregnant wife, mother-in-law, and three children were killed in a suspicious arson fire on a Nevada reservation. Incorporating 16mm and Super 8mm film, video and archival footage, gorgeous cinematography of nature and desert scenes, all tied together by Trudell's own autobiographical poetry and original musical compositions, Rae paints a layered portrait of a man who metamorphosed from prophet to poet, finds a healing salvation in prose and music, and allows himself to live again as a musician, actor, and spoken word artist. Featuring interviews with frequent Trudell collaborators and friends Robert Redford, Sam Shepherd, Val Kilmer, Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, and Jackson Browne.

About the Director(s)

Heather Rae produced and directed Trudell, which premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. She has produced more than a dozen documentary films, both independently and for television, including CBS's 500 Nations, Turner Broadcasting's The Native Americans and PBS' Storytellers of the Pacific. She recently finished producing the feature film American Monster in Stanley, Idaho, and is also producing A Thousand Guns, a feature film, with Michael Robinson. Rae was senior VP of Production at Winter Films, an independent film company based in New York and Los Angeles in 2001. Prior to that, she was director of the Native American Program for the Sundance Institute and a programmer for the Sundance Film Festival. Rae is Cherokee and resides in Boise, Idaho with her husband and three children. She works with Akatubi Entertainment in their film and music Program on reservations throughout the West.

Film Info
  • Year:
  • Length:
    80 minutes
  • Language:
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  • Premiere:
    New York


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