‘Rising Voices’ Documentary Film Update

Rising VoicesThis is the year!

Rising Voices/ Hótȟaŋiŋpi is in post-production, perfecting the sound, editing, animations and credits.

We are so excited about this film coming to public television. There were many moving stories told on film in 2014 about Native peoples honoring and protecting their cultures, and this program will extend that outpouring.

In fact,  we are proud to announce that Rising Voices/ Hótȟaŋiŋpi will have a special preview screening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on Friday, April 17 2015! This screening is in conjunction with the Met Museum’s new exhibit, The Plains Indians: Artists of the Earth and Sky.  The full program includes short films about the exhibition’s artists. The screening is free with museum admission.

Rising Voices/ Hótȟaŋiŋpi opens up the Lakota language revitalization movement for the public, tying together harsh boarding school experiences of elders with the drive of young adults to honor and rebuild a Lakota identity for their children, based on learning and speaking the language.

Photo courtesy of Kimberly Norris Guerrero

Photo courtesy of Kimberly Norris Guerrero

The Narrator voice for Rising Voices/ Hótȟaŋiŋpi is Kimberly Norris Guerrero, a busy actress and speaker who co-starred in Naturally Native and originated the role of Johnna in August: Osage County. She may be best known as Winona, Jerry’s girlfriend on Seinfeld. Her heritage is Salish-Kootenai and Cherokee.

What really sets Rising Voices/ Hótȟaŋiŋpi apart is the inclusion of three short films by Lakota filmmakers, each one giving a perspective on how finding one’s authentic “language” connects a person to a deeper sense of culture.


Renelle White Buffalo at work. Photo by Yvonne Russo.

Renelle White Buffalo at work. Photo by Yvonne Russo.

Yvonne Russo is the director of one of these short films. She profiles visual artist Renelle White Buffalo, who “speaks Lakota” through her paintings rather than through words.

Russo is an award-winning producer, director and writer of film, television and web, having worked on a diverse range of national and international productions in the United States and over 14 countries from Rajasthan, India, to the East African Nation of Rwanda. She has been an actress in film and television, and co-produced the acclaimed independent film Naturally Native. She is Sicangu Lakota.


Photo by Milt Lee

“Game show” contestant. Photo by Milt Lee

Milt Lee has been producing documentaries for more than 30 years, mostly in South Dakota. His film for Rising Voices/ Hótȟaŋiŋpi adopts the bouncing energy of a game show to ask whether speaking Lakota makes you Lakota. Milt is an enrolled member of the Oglala Nation.


Photo by Dana Claxton

Photo by Dana Claxton

Dana Claxton is a multi-media visual artist whose work is rooted in her worldview as a Hunkpapa Lakota woman. From installation to performance to single channel video works, she is committed to the Indigenous point of view. Her film for Rising Voices/ Hótȟaŋiŋpi observes a model being dressed for a haute couture photo shoot using Lakota objects like a buffalo skull, while an elder speaks Lakota on the soundtrack.

We’ll keep you posted on the screenings and events we are planning around Rising Voices/ Hótȟaŋiŋpi’s broadcast date. Keep an eye out for us in Washington, DC, Rapid City, SD and Bismarck, ND!


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