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About the Film

"Sweetheart Dancers" is a story about Sean and Adrian, a Two-Spirit couple determined to rewrite the rules of Native American culture through their participation in the “Sweetheart Dance.” This celebratory contest is held at powwows across the country primarily for men and women couples, until now.

About the Filmmaker

Ben-Alex Dupris is Miniconjou Lakota, and enrolled member of the Colville Confederated Tribes where he grew up. Dupris creates work that pushes the boundaries of modernity and traditionalism, changing perspectives of Indigenous concepts without censorship. He spent five months on the ground documenting the Standing Rock occupation, and continues his work in honor of Indigenous people and his traditional homelands.

Ben-Alex Dupris' directorial debut film “Sweetheart Dancers” won the Grand Jury Award for best short film at Outfest 2019. He produced “Paulette” (Guardian Films) for veteran director Heather Rae, and is the Impact Producer for Michael Premo’s “Water Warriors” on PBS POV.

He is an artist-in-residence at Concordia Studio, headed by Davis Guggenheim, an Impact Producer Fellow trained through Firelight Media.

He served on the Grand Jury at LA Asian Pacific Film Festival 2019, is formerly a 2017 Sundance Institute “Rauschenberg” Producer’s Fellow, and a 2016 Inaugural Redford Center Grantee.

He is an incoming instructor at Duke University Center for Documentary Studies where he is teaching a course on Indigenous Mythology in Popular culture. He is also co-authoring a book for Duke Center for Documentary Studies with Nancy Kalow on low budget documentary filmmaking in the changing tides of social justice movements.

Ben-Alex Dupris is also the elected Chairman of the Board for the non-profit “Unlocking Silent Histories,” An Austin, TX based organization designed to train Indigenous filmmakers in remote regions of Guatemala, and a growing number of North American tribes who are in need of raising their profiles on a global scale.

In his spare time, he trains front-line media operations for youth, volunteer his producing services to new Indigenous filmmakers, and continues to design a unique perspective in all facets of his creative and personal life.

About Vision Maker Media

Vision Maker Media (VMM) empowers and engages Native People to share stories. We envision a world changed and healed by understanding Native stories and the public conversations they generate. We work with Native producers to develop, produce and distribute programs for all media. VMM supports training to increase the number of American Indians and Alaska Natives producing quality public broadcasting programs. A key strategy for this work is the development of strong partnerships with Tribal nations, Indian organizations and Native communities. Reaching the general public and the global market is the ultimate goal for the dissemination of Native produced media that shares Native perspectives with the world. With funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Vision Maker Media, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) empowers and engages Native People to share stories. For more information visit

Blog | Director Ben-Alex Dupris Reflects on His Film 'Sweetheart Dancers'

In his own words, Director Ben-Alex Dupris takes us through the creation of his film, "Sweetheart Dancers."