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IFC Films Purchases North American Rights to ‘Lakota Nation vs. United States’ Documentary

IFC Films has purchased the North American rights to the documentary film ‘Lakota Nation vs. United States’, which premiered during the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival. The film was directed by Jesse Short Bull (Istinma) and Laura Tomaselli (MLK/FBI, Surge) and produced in association with XTR. Audio studio Mr. Bronx‘s Eric Hoffman served as supervising sound editor.

Through interviews, archival footage, and current events, the documentary highlights the significance of the Black Hills to the Očéti Šakówiŋ people, and how it’s been repeatedly stolen from them across American history – from the arrival of the first Europeans in 1492 to treaty agreements broken around the 1870s gold rush, to the desecration of The Six Grandfathers to make Mount Rushmore in the early 20th century. The film explores the attempted erasure of the Lakota to service this exploitation and is among the first to chronicle the ongoing fight to reclaim their sacred land. 

Hoffman crafted the ethereal sound design for the documentary, blending the natural sounds of the Black Hills with surreal tones and lush soundscapes that meld into the score by composer Raven Chacon, who as of May 2022 is the first Native American to win the Pulitzer Prize for music. Hoffman provided the final sound mix weaving interviews with these elements as well as narration by Layli Long Soldier of her written work, in collaboration with the filmmakers Jesse Short Bull, Laura Tomaselli, Benjamin Hedin (MLK/FBI, Two Trains Runnin’), and Phil Pinto (MLK/FBI).

The documentary features interviews with activists and founders of the current #landback movement Nick Tilsen and Krystal Two Bulls, among others; music by Jonny Greenwood, Nine Inch Nails, Amulets, and more; cinematography by Kevin Phillips; and was executive produced by Sarah Eagle Heart, Mark Ruffalo, and others out of non-fiction studio XTR.

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