For those attending this year's Sundance Film Festival, Kevin Willmott's latest directorial effort, The Only Good Indian, premieres today at the Holiday Village Cinema III in Park City, Utah, at 5:30pm. Filmed in various Kansas locations, this movie is a revisionist historical drama that covers a period of American history that sadly, over the years, conveniently has been ignored by our culture. The Only Good Indian follows Willmott's 2004 critically-acclaimed Sundance premiere, C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America, was written by Thomas L. Carmody, and it stars Wes Studi (Last of the Mohicans, Dances With Wolves), J. Kenneth Campbell (Bulworth, Yulee's Gold), and Winter Fox Frank.
Willmott's socially controversial subject matter is set in Kansas' early 1900s, and its focus is on a Native American teenager named Nachwiahata (newcomer Winter Fox Frank) who is forced to attend a school that retrains Indians to blend-in with white culture. The movie's conflicts are the result of Nachwiahata's escape and pursuit by bounty hunter Sam Franklin (Wes Studi), a man of Cherokee decent who, basically, has abandoned his roots. A determined sheriff with a reputation for being an Indian fighter hunts the duo across Kansas (J. Kenneth Campbell as Henry McCoy), and the trio's journeys and changes they experience along the way pump the heart of this dramatic tale. It also serves as a study of assimilation on three levels, resulting in Nachwiahata's and Sam's ultimate realizations.
"History is very important to me and shows up in various ways in all my movies," says Willmott. "I saw this as an opportunity to do again as we did with C.S.A.--make a history that we feel. The challenge with history films is to make people feel the realities of the history from the point of view of the principals involved; in this case the goal was to make the audience feel and understand what it was like to be taken from your home and sent away to one of these training schools."
In addition to tonight's premiere, Sundance screening times for The Only Good Indian are the following:
January 16, 5:30pm / Holiday Village Cinema III / Park City, UT
January 17, 3:00pm / Broadway Centre Cinemas / Salt Lake City, UT
January 18, 9:00am / Temple Theatre / Park City, UT
January 24, 9:00pm / Holiday Village / Cinema IV / Park City, UT
January 25, 11:30am / Holiday Village Cinema IV / Park City, UT