Private Project

The Longest Walk

The film reveals the forced sterilization of American Indian men, women and children in the 1970s a form of genocide, the exploitation of fossil fuel reserves on native lands, and more. American Indian Movement leaders Dennis Banks, Lehman Brightman, Vernon Bellecourt, Clyde Bellecourt perform a pipe ceremony at the start of the February 11, 1978 Longest Walk - a spiritual walk across the United States opposing anti-Indian legislation that was before congress. We hear a riveting speech is given by Dr. Lehman L. Brightman on the Capital Steps., in Washington, D.C at the conclusion of the walk, July 15, 1978. Chief Eagle Feather, Dennis Banks, Max Bear, Lehman Brightman, Vernon Bellecourt, Clyde Bellecourt, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, among others, appear in the film.

  • Dana Plays
    Director
  • Dana Plays
    Writer
  • Dana Plays
    Producer
  • Lehman Brightman
    Key Cast
  • Dennis Banks
    Key Cast
  • Clyde Bellecourt
    Key Cast
  • Vernon Bellecourt
    Key Cast
  • Buffie Sainte-Marie
    Key Cast
  • Max Bear
    Key Cast
  • Chief Eagle Feather
    Key Cast
  • Huey P. Newton
    Key Cast
  • Bobby Seale
    Key Cast
  • Dana Plays
    Cinematography
  • Dana Plays
    Editing
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    7 minutes 6 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 21, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    2,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    16mm to 2K Digital Transfer
  • Aspect Ratio:
    1.85
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Impact DOCS Award
    La Jolla, California
    United States
    Award only festival, No Screening
    Impact DOCS Award: Award of Recognition: Documentary Short
  • One-Reeler Short Film Special Mention Award
    Los Angeles, CA
    United States
    Award only festival, No Screening
    One-Reeler Short Film Competition: Special Mention
  • Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards, Semi-finalist
    Los Angeles, CA
    United States
    March 24, 2018
    Semi-Finalist, Eligible for Finalist
  • American Indian Film Festival
    San Francisco, CA
    United States
    November 20, 2017
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Social Justice Film Festival
    Seattle, WA
    United States
    November 26, 2018
    Official Selection
  • Ethnografilm Paris
    Paris
    France
    April 18, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Mimesis Documentary Festival

    United States
    August 15, 2023
    Official Selection
Distribution Information
  • Dana Plays
    Country: United States
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Dana Plays

Bio of Dana Plays

Dana Plays is an award winning, American film director known for her documentary, narrative and avant-garde works that interweave personal themes. Plays utilizes a experimental approach to her work, weaving a rich landscape of imagery, that combines metaphor with iconography creating poetic resonance.

Dana Plays, born in Baltimore, Maryland, is a filmmaker most known for her award winning documentary and experimental films that have shown widely throughout the world. She picked up her first camera at the age of 9 on a holiday vacation in the West Indies. She began serious study of photography at 15 years of age, when she learned to shoot with a 35mm SLR camera, developed negatives and printed her own work. She subsequently moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where she was awarded two fine arts degrees from the California College of the Arts (Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts), and launched her career as a filmmaker and digital artist. Enmeshed in the fine art scene of the San Francisco Bay Area, Plays produced a series of experimental films, that she shot and edited herself, a proponent of hands on approach to foster ones own vision.

Plays' filmography consists of 31 works in film and digital video, consisting of documentaries, experimental films and installations. Her work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art: Color of Ritual, Color of Women, Avant-Garde Women Filmmakers of the Twentieth Century and more than 50 international film festivals, including Edinburgh, Montreal Nouveau, and Seattle International Film Festivals. Her films have garnered more than 25 film festival awards including the prestigious First Prize Jurors' Choice Award at the Black Maria Film and Video Festival for Nuclear Family; Tom Berman Award for Most Promising Filmmaker at the Ann Arbor Film Festival for Zero Hour; Best Experimental Film at the Houston International Festival for Across the Border; and Best Documentary Award at the New Orleans Film Festival for Love Stories My Grandmother Tells, which also was broadcast on VPRO, a Dutch national television network. Since 2005, Plays has had national awards and exhibitions including a Black Maria Film Festival award; a solo retrospective in Boulder, CO, at First Person Cinema, the longest standing American showcase for independent film; a digital installation of her piece Salvage Paradigm, at the Play Space Gallery, in San Francisco; a digital installations of and her video montage of Hollywood films situated in the Los Angeles River, River Madness, at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles. Plays serves on the board of directors of Canyon Cinema, in San Francisco.

Plays, professor of Film and Media Arts, and Women's Studies, at The University of Tampa has taught all aspects of film and digital production and studies since 1990, with previous teaching appointments at Syracuse University and Occidental College. At The University of Tampa, Plays teaches experimental, documentary and narrative filmmaking, world cinema, independent film and video, and women's studies.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Recently digitized, this important documentary material is being seen for the first time, now, on the eve of the 40th anniversary of The Longest Walk in 1978. I shot the footage with a 16mm camera and Kodachrome film and had it digitized via 2K scans. It is very rare material, I believe I was the only person filming with a movie camera on the Alcatraz Island that day. The AIM entourage went to Sacramento, where final scenes were filmed, prior to their departure on The Longest Walk of 1978, across the United States.

The goal of the project is to promote diversity, human rights, advocacy, and empowerment of voice. The Longest Walk, in 1978, was a peaceful protest designed to shed light on anti-Indian legislation going through Congress, and resonates with recent protests around the Pipeline protests.

The film is set within the context of short documentary films that fall within hybrid between realist tradition and essay film. The realism element of the film brings you into the scenes without overt editing or manipulation, while the voice/speech track forms commentary over these images, in essay traditions. Auteurs within essay form of filmmaking, include filmmaker Chris Marker, (Sans Soleil 1983, La Jetée, 1962) of the Eight Bank Group, who made radical films to mark political positions through personal approaches to filmmaking in France, in the 1960s. This approach brings the viewer closer into range with the work, than perhaps the modalities we see in PBS style documentary filmmaking traditions.