New Redbird Movie Takes Off

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Jennifer Redbird's Native American Film steamrolls ahead.

that people can identify with, particularly Indians, and who isn't about fashion, glitz, parties, and things that really don't mean anything in the long run like Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, and Britney Spears appear to be

Jennifer Redbird's New Movie will have the Virginia Premiere at the Top Ten Films In America Festival April 19-22. Morning Song Way, a powerful action/drama will screen at the 1910 Fries Theater in Fries, Virginia on Friday April 20th at 8 P.M. and again Saturday April 21st at 8 P.M. at the famous REX Theater in Galax.

Writer/Director/Producer Charles Howard Thomas of the Drydock Film Corporation will be on hand for a Q&A after the film screens along with stars Jennifer Redbird and Glenda Bean. Morning Song Way has won 11 awards on the film festival circuit already including Best Drama, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Actress. The film is gaining popularity among Native Americans as well and has played in Native American film festivals including the International Cherokee Film Festival in Oklahoma sponsored by the Cherokee Nation and the Native American Film Festival in Columbia, South Carolina. Coverage of the film is in the March/April issue of Native Peoples, one of the largest Native American magazines in North America.

The story is about a young girl who witnesses a murder and is placed into hiding in the mountains with her great Uncle, an old time medicine man. While there she begins to learn the ways of an ancient healing society, helps to revitalize a small tribal community, and bonds to and builds new ties to a new family. The bad guy she testifies against, gets out and comes after her, a secret government agency would like to see the old ways die off, and two conspiring drug dealers all add plot twists to the main story. Shot in a style not used since To Kill A Mockingbird, Thomas used master shots almost exclusively in the making of the film. Young Actress Jennifer Redbird won the Rising Star Award in Columbia for her portrayal of ten year old Katy Sage. Famous Blues Guitarist Elvus Kishketon, Jr., plays the medicine man Danji Turtle.

Veteran Stunt man Jeff Anderson plays Snow, a good hearted relative of Katy. Although, the Oscars are barely over, a buzz is already starting about the chances that another Native American, Jennifer Redbird could follow in the foot steps of Oscar winner Graham Greene who won his academy award for his role in Kevin Costner's film DANCES WITH WOLVES. Redbird's popularity is rising fast. Unlike other child actors who built their popularity over time in bands or on Disney programs before becoming well known, Redbird seems to have simply come out of nowhere to become an icon among tweenies and elementary school children. She is most popular among Native Americans. Redbird is of Caucasian, Hispanic, and Native American descent.

Particularly surprising is the fact that her catalyst seems to be a film that would generally be considered a little over the heads of younger children and includes talk about drugs, violence, freedom of religion, and the end of the world. Tanya Bushytail, age 13 is a Cherokee, who saw the film in Oklahoma. She participated in her middle school's film contest. She says its probably because Redbird is a real person "that people can identify with, particularly Indians, and who isn't about fashion, glitz, parties, and things that really don't mean anything in the long run like Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, and Britney Spears appear to be". Actress Savannah Reynolds, agrees.

Reynolds, who is descended from the largest single family of former slaves and is also of Native American ancestry, says that kids, especially girls, and especially girls who are not born into the social elite, "don't really identify with these other icons who we see as basically airheads." She also says that Redbird's character is a hero and her age group needs heroes to identify with. Redbird who walked over twenty miles per day during filming, lives in a rural mountain area and still goes to public school. Morning Song Way screened in March at the Delray Beach Film Festival in Florida. Actress Catherine Sewell who had a small part in the film is scheduled to attend the Virginia premiere as is famous banjo musician Gary Bean whose wife Actress Glenda Bean has a starring role.

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CHARLES HOWARD THOMAS
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