The Women In The Sand

Two feisty elders of the Timbisha Tribe struggle with the US Government and their own tribal council to overcome injustice to save their ancient tribal culture in Death Valley, CA. Through legends and stories, Pauline and Maddy Esteves reveal the rich history of their people. They travel to sacred sites, harvest pine nuts and search for early Timbisha basketry. Historians and supporters tell more of Pauline and Maddy’s fight to save their ancient language and basket making art. They confront their enemy, Chairman of the Tribal Council and debate him on their grievances. He is unmoved. Undaunted, they continue to follow their ancestor’s wishes to save their culture before it’s too late.

  • Steve Jarvis
  • Steve Jarvis
  • Steve Jarvis
  • Bob Goodman
  • Kate Fosselman
  • Pauline Estives
    Key Cast
  • Madeline Esteves
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 13 minutes 12 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 20, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    250,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Steve Jarvis

Steve Jarvis is a DGA commercial film director. A graduate of Art Center College of Design he worked as an ad agency art director on United Airlines, Budweiser and Mattel Toys. Later, he became a film director on Mattel Toys and HoneyBaked Ham. Steve directed a documentary short, The Spirit Walk” before directing “The Women In The Sand”.

Early on, Steve expanded his film making interests by directing the short documentary film, “Roy’s Market” which was honored with a special screening at the Chicago Art Institute. Later, he directed a TV pilot,

His passion for exploring and protecting the California desert and it’s history has led him to directing his first feature documentary film, “The Women In The Sand” and a short documentary film for the Western Shoshone Nation titled, “The Spirit Walk”.

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Director Statement

This is an important film about an important piece of the Native American story.

The filming of "The Women In The Sand" was a great honor and exceptionally rare opportunity. Elders of the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe have never allowed filmmakers to have such in-depth access to their lives and historic existence.

My editor, Kate Fosselman and I worked with care, respect and patience for over four years to capture this eye-opening, impactful look into the true story of the Timbisha People.

Through first hand recollections and personal experiences, Pauline Esteves, her sister-in-law Maddy Esteves and a few others reveal what it was like to live a harsh life and survive in the centuries old Timbisha Village. A village located in an extremely isolated location, the hottest place on Earth, Death Valley, CA.

Steve Jarvis
Producer / Director