Summer Sun Winter Moon premiered December 2009.
Summer Sun Winter Moon is a thought-provoking documentary film that exposes viewers to the reality of the American Indian perspective of Lewis and Clark's legendary "Corps of Discovery" mission.
Rob Kapilow, a celebrated classical music artist, is commissioned to compose a symphonic work with a specific theme: a reflection of the enduring legacy of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Often referenced as a young Leonard Bernstein, the youthfully energetic Kapilow foregoes his original intent to set the journals of Lewis and Clark to music, choosing to actually re-trace the journey himself as a catalyst for fresh inspiration.
Upon engaging tribal representatives out West in active dialogue about how best to convey their stories, Kapilow finds himself overwhelmed at the crossroads of textbook history and the tangible perspective of the American Indian. Seeking to collaborate with Blackfeet tribal member Darrell Robes Kipp, the innovative artist delves into a sharply alternative — and controversial — avenue of perspective: that of the indigenous storyteller's view "from the river bank, not the boat."
"There's nothing to celebrate here...not for Indian people," says Darrell Robes Kipp, referencing the planned events for the celebration of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial. The co-founder of the NitzipuahsinBlackfeet Language Immersion School, Kipp is a poet and educator who has been laboring to salvage his native people's language from the brink of near-extinction. Enlisted by Kapilow, Kipp agrees to author the libretto for the symphony project, offering his own hand to the composer who dared to reach across the divide.
Executive Producer Cynthia Newport and award-winning director Hugo Perez bring to the national viewing audience Summer Sun Winter Moon's inherent declarations of truth, proving to be important and timely in what it tells us about ourselves, about our place in time, and about the choices we have to make moving forward. While there are two sides to every story, viewers are left haunted by the words of two storytellers with one story that can only be interpreted by each individual.
Summer Sun Winter Moon was executive produced by Cynthia Newport of illume productions. Rob Kapilow composed the Summer Sun Winter Moon symphony. The vibrato was composed by Blackfeet poet Darrell Robes Kipp. Darrell Robes Kipp co-founded the Piegan Institute to research and archive the Piegan/Blackfeet language.
- Visit the Summer Sun Winter Moon site for additional photos and information.
- Watch a video diary by Jesse Desrosier about living on the Blackfeet Reservation, attending the Nizipuhwahsin School and dealing with racism.
- Follow Summer Sun Winter Moon on Twitter.
- Explore Independent Lens' Native American film collection.