Independent Lens: Reel Injun: On The Trail Of The Hollywood Indian
Airs Sunday, November 27, 2011 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV
Friday, November 5, 2010
Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond takes a look at the Hollywood Indian, exploring the portrayal of North American Natives through a century of cinema. Traveling through the heartland of America, and into the Canadian North, Diamond looks at how the myth of "the Injun" has influenced the world's understanding — and misunderstanding — of Natives.
"Reel Injun" traces the evolution of cinema's depiction of Native people from the silent film era to today, with clips from hundreds of classic and recent Hollywood movies, and candid interviews with celebrated Native and non-Native film celebrities, activists, film critics, and historians.
Celebrities featured in "Reel Injun" include Robbie Robertson, the half-Jewish, half-Mohawk musician and soundtrack composer ("Raging Bull," "Casino," "Gangs of New York"); Cherokee actor Wes Studi ("Last of the Mohicans," "Geronimo"), filmmakers Jim Jarmusch ("Dead Man") and Chris Eyre ("Smoke Signals"); and acclaimed Native actors Graham Greene ("Dances with Wolves," "Thunderheart") and Adam Beach ("Smoke Signals," Clint Eastwood's "Flags of our Fathers"). Diamond also travels North to the remote Nunavut town of Igloolik (population: 1,500) to interview Zacharias Kunuk, director of the Caméra d'or-winning "The Fast Runner."