April 23, 2010

White Sands film fest honors Studi

White Sands film fest honors Studi

Focus on cultural issues becoming common in films

By Elva K. ÖsterreichAs an event that began in Alamogordo as a germ of an idea and spread, it outgrew its home county and now has become a coveted weekend in Las Cruces.

The White Sands International Film Festival has celebrated another year of success as socially relevant films have become a focus.

This year, taking home the lifetime achievement award, Santa Fe resident and actor Wes Studi spent time with the WSIFF audiences following a recent film of his, "The Only Good Indian."

Fresh off the set of "Avatar," Studi chose to work on the little-known "The Only Good Indian" because it touched a place in his heart.

The film follows classic Western style and is set with the backdrop of one of the "Indian schools," which Native American children were required to attend to make them more like white people.

"What struck me when I decided to do this, is I am Cherokee and I know people who have been very much affected with the ideas of coming along to government-based schools," Studi said. "You are affected by the teaching of the school itself. The goal is to change the Indian into something he is not."
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Runningwater Interviews Studi and Studi Challenges Stereotypical Roles.

Below:  "Actor Wes Studi is recognized with a lifetime achievement award." (Elva K. sterreich/Daily News)

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