Canku Ota

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America

November 4, 2000 - Issue 22

S.D. Men Start Hollywood Film Company
by Gloria Bauske Argus Leader

FLANDREAU -- Two men with South Dakota roots have founded a Los Angeles based multi-media production company run by American Indians.

Floyd Red Crow Westerman, chief executive officer for Red Crow Creations, was born on Sisseton-Wahpeton tribal land. He moved from the area more than 30 years ago and began a successful entertainment career.

Now Westerman is using that experience to help others.

He named 25-year-old Sydney Beane of Flandreau president of his new company. Beane is a member of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe.

Westerman graduated from high school in Flandreau and continued his education at Northern State University, where he majored in speech, theater and art.

He signed his first recording contract in 1969; and in 1970 his first album, "Custer Died For Your Sins," was released.

Westerman has appeared in movies such as "Renegades" and "Dances With Wolves" and as characters in television's "Walker Texas Ranger," "Northern Exposure" and "X-files."

Beane is an experienced American Indian community development and organizational specialist.

At Red Crow Creations he will focus on the new project development, co-production deals, partnerships and Indian-owned business opportunities, including real estate and investment strategies.

Beane said the atmosphere of the production company will be like an extended American Indian family where they can experience a greater variety of jobs and create a number of new ones.

"Our vision is that we will create a place in Los Angeles where a lot of the Indian musicians, artists, performers and people who are interested in the technical side of the television and film industry can help produce their own work," Beane said.

Bill Bean, who lives in Flandreau, is proud of his little brother.

"I'm very excited about it because it's the first Native American production company in Hollywood that is run by Native Americans," said Bill Bean.

Sydney Beane uses a traditional spelling of the family name, which was changed when the brothers' father enrolled in the tribe.

The new company has caught the attention of other tribal members as well.

"I think it's great that they are training other Native Americans and helping them achieve their goals," said Ray Redwing, tribal councilman for the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe.

The new company is working on is first project, "Exterminate Them! America's War On Indian Nations -- The California Story."

It is an 82-minute feature documentary that examines the atrocities against native people. It will be completed this year and has a budget of $875,000.

The new company will seek television distribution partners worldwide, but to date, "Exterminate Them" has been entirely funded by the California Indian tribes.

The company also is developing an animated project. "Storytellers" is hosted by Red Crow Westerman as the voice of Grandfather and will feature traditional American Indian stories.

Westerman and Beane are enthused about the opportunities the company can provide to American Indians.

"There are many job positions behind the camera, but we are hoping to give them a place in front of the camera to perform as well," Beane said.

Eyapaha Institute



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