IFC Films has acquired Lakota Nation vs. the United States, the documentary directed by Jesse Short Bull and Laura Tomaselli (MLK/FBI). The film chronicles the Lakota Indians’ quest to reclaim the Black Hills, sacred land that was stolen in violation of treaty agreements. A searing, timely portrait of resistance, the film explores the ways America has ignored its debt to Indigenous communities and ponders what might be done today to repair the wrongs of the past.
Lakota Nation vs. the United States is narrated and features the poetry of acclaimed Ogala Lakota poet, Layli Long Soldier, winner of the National Books Critics Circle award and finalist for the National Book Award. Lakota activists featured in the film include Nick Tilsen and Krystal Two Bulls, two organizers of today’s landback movement.
Lakota Nation vs. the United States had its World Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2022 and will screen next at SFFILM Doc Stories. IFC Films will release the film in select theaters in summer 2023 and will stream exclusively on AMC+ later that year.
Short Bull is a 2016 Sundance Institute Native American and Indigenous Program Development Grant recipient and is also a member of the Oglala Lakota tribal government. Tomaselli previously partnered with IFC Films on Sam Pollard’s MLK/FBI which earned a place on the Oscar shortlist in 2021 and garnered Tomaselli a Cinema Eye Award Nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Editing for her work. Earlier in 2022 the filmmakers received a grant from the Sundance Documentary Fund.
“Both of us are overjoyed this film found a home at IFC Films,” said directors Jesse Short Bull and Laura Tomaselli. “In bringing Lakota Nation vs. the United States to audiences we hope to help catalyze a necessary conversation about healing and create momentum towards repairing historic wrongs.”
Added Executive Producer Mark Ruffalo, “We’re thrilled to be partnering with IFC Films on the North American release of Lakota Nation vs. the United States. A film about landback could not be more timely or urgent, and we hope the documentary helps catapult the movement into the national consciousness, pushing for action that will return the Black Hills to the Lakota people.”