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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Film: THE ACTIVIST directed by Cyril Morin
by press release

Media in Sync is proud to announce that the political thriller THE ACTIVIST, set during the Native American protest of Wounded Knee in 1973, is now available on DVD and digital platforms, after a successful run in the festival circuit, and a limited theatrical release in the U.S.

The Los Angeles Times called it "INTRIGUING" and the Village Voice hailed "BRILLIANT".


THE ACTIVIST is a riveting political thriller set during the Wounded Knee protest in 1973. Two Native American activists, Marvin and Bud, are arrested and held in custody in a small sheriff's office in the middle of nowhere. Why are they secretly kept there when the events make national news? When a lawyer is assigned to the case, she will realize there is more to investigate than it seems. Why does a representative of President Nixon make frequent visits to the detainees? and a U.S. Senator? And a Hollywood star who is also an activist? Confrontations will reveal deep secrets, and the truth will come out that Marvin's wife, who died a few months before in a car accident, might have been murdered…. With nods to actor Marlon Brando, President Nixon, and Vietnam, the film recreates the paranoid culture of the 1970s.

Directed by Cyril Morin and starring:
Michael Spears
(Dances with Wolves, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee),
Tonanzin Carmelo
(Into the West, Imprint),
veteran TV actors:
Ron Roggé
(Treme, Modern Family),
King Orba
(3:10 to Yuma),
and Alena Von Stroheim
(Eric Von Stroheim's granddaughter).

Bonus Features include the original theatrical trailer and the Q&A session with director Cyril Morin after the premiere of the film in Los Angeles.

Cyril Morin is a successful international film composer with more than 90 soundtracks to his credits, including the TV series BORGIA and the films by renown Israeli filmmaker Eran Riklis. His music has received numerous awards and press acclaim. The Activist is his first feature film.

A little historical background:
February 1973: the revival of the Indian cause.
More than eighty years after the Wounded Knee massacre; on February 27, 1973 the place again became the theater of a confrontation between the federal authorities and the activists of the American Indian Movement. On this day about 300 Oglala Sioux as well as sympathizers of the Indian cause gathered and occupied the village of Wounded Knee for their rights and land to be recognized. The conflict lasted for 72 days and many were killed or wounded.

Best Independent Film / Sedona International Film Festival

USA Film Festival (Dallas)
American Indian Film Festival (San Francisco)
Valley Film Festival (Los Angeles)
Human Rights Film Festival (New York)
New York City Independent Film Festival
1st Red Nation Film Festival (Los Angeles)
Cherokee South Carolina Film Festival

Genre: Drama
Language: English / Spanish and French subtitles available
Specs: Color / 90 minutes / Widescreen / 5.1 Surround Sound / Not Rated

DVD available for purchase on
Available for streaming and/or download on, iTunes, Google Play and Vudu.


Writer - Director - Composer

Why this interest in the 1973 Wounded Knee uprising, the subject having never been depicted in a movie?

CM: For a long time, I've been fascinated by the Indian culture and by their struggles. Wounded Knee, I believe, is the last Indian "war". The "war" that gives social and cultural revival to the Native Americans. Through this event, I also wanted to speak about the activism of the 70s. I find this insurrection illustrates well the change that took place in our society during that time.

I made a political thriller where the subplots in the background are historical, but where the actions and the characters are inspired by true events and famous characters.

You're talking about Marlon Brando, George McGovern and Nixon.

CM: All those characters were connected with what took place at Wounded Knee. The senator of South Dakota, George McGovern, big time loser against Nixon in the elections of 72, returned to the front of the political scene by periodically negotiating beside the insurgents.

Marlon Brando went to Wounded Knee and also fought for Indian rights all his life. In the film, I have recreated the famous scene in which he refused to accept the Academy Awards for his role in «The Godfather» because of the insurrection (March, 27 1973).

Nixon was ultimately the big loser during this time, because he went against the current and locked himself away prematurely with the wiretaps that resulted in the Watergate scandal. It is what concludes the movie. But the secret plan he signed shows a large amount of cynicism. Rules in Indian reservations are indeed not the same than in the rest of the country and certain people broke those rules -- and still abuse of them. It is one subject of the movie. Moreover, we can think that the siege went beyond what the uprising should have represented.

The movie happens almost in only one place. How did you approach the prison and the confinement?

CM: Generally, the activists are fairly familiar with prison and my characters undoubtedly were present during the Native American siege in Alcatraz, Washington, or even Custer. Here, it is about temporary jail cells, but the siege lasts longer than planned. The confinement creates tension and pushes the characters physically and psychologically.

To film it, I preferred to recreate a set in a studio to have more freedom, and especially to avoid a certain claustrophobia. But I liked the confinement aspect of it. The film I used as a reference was Sydney Lumet's "12 Angry Men". It's a perfect example of a "one location" movie.

What about working with the set, the lighting an