Premiere screenings are set for a movie that features Waupaca native Dan Davies.
He co-wrote and stars in the Lakota-inspired Western “West of Thunder,” which was filmed in California, South Dakota and in Cassville, Wis.
The movie is set to hold Sunka Wakan benefit pre-premiere screenings in New York City on July 19 and is Los Angeles on Aug. 9, followed by international premieres in London, Paris, Israel and Hong Kong in September.
There is interest in the movie and in the project that it will support.
All of the profits from the movie will go toward building a K-12 Lakota Cambridge accredited school (Sunka Wakan) on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
The school – the first of its kind – will provide students with a high level of academics with an immersion in Lakota culture, language and traditional values. It will seek to prepare students for future success in both worlds.
Herds of rescued wild mustangs will also be a part of the project, with equine therapy and Lakota cultural programs.
Unemployment is 80 percent on the reservation, and the high school dropout rate is 70 percent. The teenage suicide rate is high, and in 2007, the life expectancy was estimated to be 48 for men and 52 for women.
The creation of the Sunka Wakan school is a collaboration between the Lakota people of Pine Ridge reservation and an international team that includes the United States, England, Israel, France and Hong Kong.
“West of Thunder” is set in 1899, nine years after the Massacre at Wounded Knee and the formation of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
The movie explores the possibility of revenge and the choice of a higher road.
An independent, small-budget movie, “West of Thunder” has attracted the assistance of Hollywood heavyweights including Michael Blake (“Dances with Wolves”), John Stanier (“Midnight Express,” “Pink Floyd’s The Wall,” “Life of Brian.”), actors Michael Worth (“Acapulco H.E.A.T.,” “God’s Ears,” “Dual”), Crispian Belfrage (“The Donner Party,” “Castle,” “As Good As Dead,” “Rushlights”), Raffaello Degrutolla (“Saving Private Ryan,” “Quantum of Solace”), Sadie Kaye (“Sailing Miss Sadie,” “Tucker’s Luck,” HBO’s “Funny or Die”) and musicians/composers Ian Hatton (Bonham, “Rock Star”), Deni Bonet (Cyndi Lauper), Neville Farmer (Robert Plant, XTC, and BBC’s Lonely Planet) and Sir Jonathan Douglas (RTHK’s Morning Call & BBC Prime-Hong Kong).
Davies was in Waupaca last year for the last theatrical showings of “Ed Gein, The Musica,” which he wrote starred in and helped produce.
The 92-minute musical, comedy, horror movie was filmed in Wisconsin and based on Gein, the killer and grave robber from Plainfield.
The movie was made with a $9,000 budget.