March 14, 2009

Seeking a Rezdog Millionaire

I'd stand in line to see Rezdog Millionaire

Colleen SimardAlthough there are tons of films that reflect our past, and great documentaries, there aren't enough about the other side of aboriginal lives. We, too, should have dramas and romantic-comedy films. There are very few out there.

There was a 2007 short feature flick Tkaronto, which was hailed as the aboriginal version of Reality Bites. And, the latest offering I can think of is the APTN television series about casino skulduggery called Cashing In.

We have yet to have our coming-of-age Boyz in the Hood, Spike-Lee-style film hit the mainstream. And we have yet to discover our own Spike Lee, although there are quite a few candidates out there.

Maybe it's because, like Slumdog Millionaire, we need an outside non-aboriginal person to produce it. Maybe that's part of the problem.

We'll have our version Rezdog Millionaire. I'd stand in line to see that one, too.
Comment:  The point here is that the foreign aspects of Slumdog Millionaire weren't likely to appeal to American audiences. And yet the movie is a popular and critical hit. If the same movie had been made about American Indians instead of Asian Indians, it could've been the same popular and critical hit.

In short, there's no reason a movie like this couldn't expose Native culture to a mainstream audience. It's simply a matter of putting together the right team of talent: writer, director, producer, actors, et al.

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

Below:  A movie about the other Indians.


dmarks said...

"We have yet to have our coming-of-age Boyz in the Hood, Spike-Lee-style film hit the mainstream"

Poor John Singleton, the man who actually made Boyz n the Hood. The overrated Spike Lee had nothing to do with it. Thanks to articles like that, people will confuse the two.

Lee's most recent mainstream highly-promoted film, Miracle at St Anna, has grossed $9.2 million so far. I can compare this to the famous Native-related feature Smoke Signals from 10 years ago which made $6.7 million.... probably more than what what Miracle at St Anna made if you adjust for inflation (ticket prices).

It's not hard to aim higher than Spike Lee for something very Native specific: it's been done already.

Anonymous said...

I am a "non-aboriginal" filmmaker who has been trying to get exactly this type of project off the ground for five years. I had the same thought: Where is the American Indian version of "Whale Rider" and "Slumdog"...(I don't consider Smoke Signals to be that...but I love the film.) Script, director, producer, access to top Native talent, locations, etc...all in place. The answer lies as it always does...where is the money to produce this kind of project? Show me the money.

Anonymous said...

I definitely think this is all about finding the right paint= people. When you have the right choice of colors and tools, we'll have a masterful piece that will be seen by everyone. We can't give up in finding that talent, it's out there! Sooner or later, the day will come, and I believe it is very near. The amount of talent and interest in film for American Indians is increasing.