“A wonderful, sorrowful, compelling film. From classrooms of fear and forced assimilation, to the climactic stand-off at Wounded Knee, it is an essential chapter in the all-too-infrequently-told tale of those who can truly call this continent home.” Ken Burns, Filmmaker
“About time someone looked in depth at that part of our history. The Banks documentary taught me a million fascinating things I never knew. And I followed the events at Wounded Knee quite closely at the time.” Michael Fitzgerald, Producer
In 2009-10, I served as an archival researcher to track down photos, film footage and secure licensing and rights for A GOOD DAY TO DIE, a documentary focused on the life story of Dennis Banks, an Ojibwe born on the Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota in 1937. California filmmakers and directors Lynn Salt (Choctaw) and David Mueller have this to say about my research skills: “You are a God-send (or in Native terms, a Spirit-send)! We are so grateful for you and all your experience. We have other proposals out for more documentaries which will call for more extensive research and you are at the top of our list. Meanwhile, if anyone we know is looking for a researcher, you’re the one! We are so fortunate to have you with us on this journey.”
Created with the vision of opening hearts and healing across races, tribes and generations, I invite you to the Twin Cities Film Fest screening of:
A GOOD DAY TO DIE
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2010, 6:00 pm
AMC Block E 15, 600 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Minnesota Ojibwe Dennis Banks co-founded the American Indian Movement (AIM) in 1968 to call attention to the plight of urban Indians in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This riveting documentary, incorporating never-before-seen footage from the Minnesota Historical Society, presents an intimate look at Dennis Banks’ life beginning with his early experience in boarding schools, through his military service in Japan, his transformative experience in Stillwater State Prison and subsequent founding of a movement that, through confrontational actions in Washington DC, Custer, South Dakota and Wounded Knee, changed the lives of American Indians forever. Followed by Q & A with directors Lynn Salt and David Mueller.
“Best Documentary” American Indian Film Festival
“Best Documentary” Deadcenter Film Festival
“Best Documentary” Dreamspeakers Film Festival
“Best Documentary” International Cherokee Film Festival
“Best Documentary” Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival
“Grand Jury Prize – Spirit of Action” Santa Cruz Film Festival
“Juried Award – Best Documentary” Frozen River Film Festival
“The best documentary at the 10th Annual deadCENTER Film Festival gave a voice to a movement overlooked by mainstream America and unknown to a new generation of Native Americans. “A Good Day to Die”, by California filmmakers David Mueller and Lynn Salt (Choctaw), won best documentary at its world premiere at the deadCENTER Film Festival in Oklahoma City. It is also the first film of its kind to be executive produced by a tribal nation, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation of California. This is a story of American history I did not learn growing up.” Tetona Dunlap, The Buffalo Post, June 2010
For other film festival venues and further details, go to www.agooddaytodiefilm.com
A GOOD DAY TO DIE SYNOPSIS: Dennis Banks ran away from boarding schools eleven times and grew up to become one of the leaders of the American Indian Movement which he co-founded in 1968 in Minnesota. Frustrated by discrimination and decades of federal Indian policy, Minnesota Indians came together to discuss the critical issues restraining them and to take control over their own destiny. Out of that ferment and determination, the American Indian Movement was born. AIM leaders spoke out against high unemployment, slum housing, and racist treatment, fought for treaty rights and the reclamation of tribal land, and advocated on behalf of urban Indians whose situation bred illness and poverty.
Written, directed and produced by Native Americans, this film reflects the world that Dennis Banks experienced from 1937 to 1980 as a Native American, including accurately portraying what happened at Wounded Knee in 1973 from a Native perspective. The filmmakers and executive producers believe that this deeply personal story of one man’s life, spanning the 20th century, will offer a key to opening the hearts and minds of those who have a limited understanding of what it means to be Native American today. This film will offer a rare and powerful point-of-view towards creating a deeper understanding of Native people. From its inception, this project has facilitated the process of healing painful, old wounds and it also brings forward a part of American history that has been ignored too long.