August 07, 2011

The Thick Dark Fog

Filmmaker Chronicles Walter Littlemoon’s Emergence from ‘The Thick Dark Fog’

By Stephanie WoodardRandy Vasquez has just finished shooting his second feature-length documentary, The Thick Dark Fog. Seven years in the making, with a projected release date of spring 2012, the film examines Wounded Knee resident Walter Littlemoon’s fight to escape the debilitating effects of the violent, authoritarian boarding schools he attended as a child on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. “The Thick Dark Fog isn’t just about that tragedy, though,” says Vasquez. “It’s about taking steps to fix yourself.”

For Littlemoon, this process meant remembering: literally, reassembling his scattered memories of his culture: “I had to piece together things elders had said, things boarding school had forced me to forget. For us Lakota, ‘human being’ is not a description, it’s a title—something to aspire to through this kind of learning.”

The film’s Native participants include executive producer Brian Wescott (Athabascan/Yup’ik), director of photography Kahlil Hudson (Tlingit), and assistant editor Sydney Freeland (Navajo). Lakota child actor Manuel Yellow Horse plays the young Walter in reconstructions. Vasquez is familiar to TV and movie audiences from roles in productions such as JAG and Beverly Hills Cop; he’ll be featured in a comic movie to be released in September, Saving Private Perez.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Native Documentaries and News.

Below:  "Lakota actor Manuel Yellowhorse plays the young Walter Littlemoon in reconstructions for the documentary The Thick Dark Fog."

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