WAR PONY—directed by Gina Gammell and Riley Keough—narrates its themes of generational trauma and the dementia of modern life through the electrifying lens of a crime saga. Set in South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation among members of the Oglala Lakota tribe, the film is labor of love and truth many years in the making.
Co-written by Franklin Sioux Bob and Bill Reddy, who live on the reservation, the film is careful to avoid what Sioux Bob referred to as “poverty porn,” favoring an aesthetic mix of realism and elegance. Tracking two storylines, WAR PONY mixes searing scenes of emotional power with farcical humor. Twelve-year-old Matho (LaDainian Crazy Thunder) and his gang of boys are already deep in a cycle of transgression and vengeance, while Bill (Jojo Bapteise Whiting), a droll young father, hustles for survival in a world of exploiters. Refreshingly grounded in an everlasting present, the filmmakers have created a document of the gorgeous freedom of youth, no matter what its circumstances.
This Cannes Camera d’Or winner is now streaming. See links and info below for details.
Directed by Gina Gammell and Riley Keough
Written by Franklin Sioux Bob, Bill Reddy, Gina Gammell, and Riley Keough
July 28 through August 3
Monica Film Center
1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica
Angelika Film Center
18 West Houston Street, New York City
Gina Gammell and Riley Keough, War Pony (2022), from top: Jojo Bapteise Whiting (standing) and Wasose Garcia on set; LaDainian Crazy Thunder (in red shirt) and cast; War Pony U.S. poster; Steven Yellow Hawk (left) and Whiting; Sprague Hollander (left), Ashley Shelton, and Whiting; Whiting.
Images courtesy and © Momentum Pictures, Felix Culpa, and Caviar.