NEW YORK, NY (November 1, 2022) – IFC Films announced today that they are acquiring North American rights to LAKOTA NATION VS. UNITED STATES, directed by Jesse Short Bull and Laura Tomaselli (MLK/FBI). The film chronicles the Lakota Indians’ quest to reclaim the Black Hills, sacred land that was stolen in violation of treaty agreements. A searing, timely portrait of resistance, the film explores the ways America has ignored its debt to Indigenous communities and ponders what might be done today to repair the wrongs of the past.
LAKOTA NATION VS. UNITED STATES is narrated and features the poetry of acclaimed Ogala Lakota poet, Layli Long Soldier, winner of the National Books Critics Circle award and finalist for the National Book Award. The score is composed by Raven Chacon, recipient of the 2022 Pulitzer Prize and director of photography is Kevin Phillips’ (Super Dark Times), featuring gorgeous camerawork and sweeping vistas of South Dakota. . The several Lakota activists featured in the film include Nick Tilsen and Krystal Two Bulls, two organizers of today’s landback movement. The film is produced by Benjamin Hedin (MLK/FBI) and Phil Pinto (MLK/FBI) with author and activist Sarah Eagle Heart executive producing alongside Mark Ruffalo and Marisa Tomei. Other Executive Producers include Jodi Archambault, Kathryn Everett, Bryn Mooser, Salman Al-Rashid, Sam Frohman, Julia Walsh, Becky Gochman, David Gochman, and David Friend.
LAKOTA NATION VS. UNITED STATES, which was produced in association with XTR, had its World Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2022 and will screen next at SFFILM Doc Stories. IFC Films will release the film in select theaters in summer 2023 and will stream exclusively on AMC+ later that year.
Short Bull is a 2016 Sundance Institute Native American and Indigenous Program Development Grant recipient and is also a member of the Oglala Lakota tribal government. Tomaselli previously partnered with IFC Films on Sam Pollard’s MLK/FBI which earned a place on the Oscar shortlist in 2021 and garnered Tomaselli a Cinema Eye Award Nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Editing for her work. Earlier in 2022 the filmmakers received a grant from the Sundance Documentary Fund.
Arianna Bocco, President of IFC Films said, “We are honored to partner with Jesse Short Bull and continue our relationship with Laura Tomaselli, Benjamin Hedin, and Phil Pinto after the success of MLK/FBI. LAKOTA NATION VS. UNITED STATES should be required viewing and we are committed to bringing this issue to a larger national audience in collaboration with the Lakota community and the landback movement.”
“Both of us are overjoyed this film found a home at IFC Films,” said directors Jesse Short Bull and Laura Tomaselli. “In bringing LAKOTA NATION VS. UNITED STATES to audiences we hope to help catalyze a necessary conversation about healing and create momentum towards repairing historic wrongs.”
Added Executive Producer Mark Ruffalo, “We’re thrilled to be partnering with IFC Films on the North American release of LAKOTA NATION VS. UNITED STATES. A film about landback could not be more timely or urgent, and we hope the documentary helps catapult the movement into the national consciousness, pushing for action that will return the Black Hills to the Lakota people.”
The deal for the film was negotiated by IFC Films’ Head of Acquisitions and Production Scott Shooman with Jason Ishikawa at Cinetic on behalf of the filmmakers. Magnolia Pictures International picked up international rights and will be launching the film at AFM this week.
ABOUT IFC FILMS
Established in 2000 and based in New York City, IFC Films is a leading U.S. distributor of independent film. Its unique distribution model makes independent films available to a national audience by releasing them in theaters as well as on cable’s Video On Demand (VOD) and digital platforms.
Upcoming releases include Cannes Un Certain Regard award-winner, CORSAGE, directed by Marie Kreutzer and starring Vicky Krieps (BERGMAN ISLAND, PHANTOM THREAD). Some of the company’s successes over the years have included BOYHOOD, THE DEATH OF STALIN, FRANCES HA, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, THE BABADOOK, TOUCHING THE VOID, 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS, CHE, SUMMER HOURS, ANTICHRIST, IN THE LOOP, JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK, TINY FURNITURE, and CARLOS. IFC Films has worked with established and breakout filmmakers, including Steven Soderbergh, Gus Van Sant, Spike Lee, Richard Linklater, Miranda July, Lars Von Trier, Gaspar Noé, Todd Solondz, Cristian Mungiu, Susanne Bier, Olivier Assayas, Jim McKay, Larry Fessenden, Paul Dano, Gregg Araki, Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol, Abdellatif Kechiche, Kore-eda Hirokazu, Abbas Kiarostami, Alfonso Cuaron, Noah Baumbach, Lena Dunham, Ethan Hawke and many more. IFC Films is a sister label to IFC Midnight, and is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.