Warrior Women's One Year Premiere Anniversary

IT’S BEEN A YEAR, PEOPLE!! As we come around to Warrior Women’s one year anniversary of our Hot Docs Premiere, we thought it was time to recap and look to the future. We have had an incredible year!! Over this past year, we have screened at film festivals, visited schools and communities, and held an honoring in Rapid City for the Native women activists who are the Warrior Women of South Dakota.


For us, the film is the beginning of a journey toward social change. As such the film is part of the overall Warrior Women Project which is an innovative collaboration of scholarship, media, and activism that seeks to provide a forum for the Warrior Women of the Red Power Movement and current Indigenous activists to tell their stories in their own words for the benefit of future generations.

In the months to come there will be many exciting projects and events happening. First, we will be expanding our film screenings into an Indigenous Communities tour.  Additionally, we are in the process of creating more media to share the history of Indigenous women’s activism.

The film is based on a book written by co-director Beth Castle, which was created from more than 200 hours of oral history interviews. We want to expand this oral history collection and create a podcast to make the material more accessible. Ultimately, this podcast will be taken on the road so we can produce more episodes with the Warrior Women we meet at screenings and events.

Of course, young people are the reason behind everything we do. They are the future and as such we find it crucial to create a curriculum that centers decolonization while raising awareness about the issues pertinent to the film and to today’s world. As part of this curriculum, we are also in the process of designing seminars and workshops that can be brought to your community or school.

Lastly, we recognize the need to stay accountable at the community level. We partner with the Wasagiya Najin Grandmothers' Group in order to provide direct action support on the Cheyenne River Reservation under the guidance of Madonna Thunder Hawk. We will continue to aid in the support and expansion of their work. In order to create a more sustainable future, we are also collaborating with Indigenous leaders to build an Earthship which will be self-run “decolony” for future survival schools.


Creating actionable change is only possible with your support! We are looking for some fearless changemakers to join our team as official Warrior Women interns! For more information please see the internship descriptions here. Please consider donating to support the movement and the cause. We also have swag available for purchase in our shop. All profits go directly to on the ground community organizing and every bit helps keep a grandma in action!

It's been a big year.

After 20 years as an idea and 8 years in the making, our feature documentary Warrior Women premiered at the Hot Docs International Film Festival in Toronto, Canada in April 2018. The film was well received by an enthusiastic & passionate audience. Once Madonna Thunder Hawk & Marcella Gilbert walked on stage, the crowd erupted and leaped to their feet for the first (of many) standing ovations! The energy was electrifying and we could not have asked for a better World Premiere! 

Since Hot Docs, Warrior Women has been busy taking the world by storm. We have screened at the Seattle International Film Festival, San Francisco Green Festival, Traverse City Film Festival, Lumbee Film Festival, AIM West International Film Festival, South Dakota Homelands Premiere, Calgary International Film Festival, Margaret Mead Film Festival, Alexander Valley Film Festival (closing night), Milwaukee International Film Festival, California American Indian and Indigenous Film Festival, San Francisco American Indian Film Festival, Film Loft Cinema Film Festival, Los Angeles SKINS, Guelph International Film Festival, Cucalorus Film Festival,  Free State Film Festival, Tuscon Film Festival, and the Skábmagovat Film festival in Finland. 

Each audience brought different energy, understanding & insight to the theatres. We have been overwhelmed by the positive response and generous donations. 

We are honored to have been awarded “Best Documentary” at the Los Angeles SKINS Fest, California’s American Indian & Indigenous Film Festival, and the San Francisco American Indian Film Festival. 

We are looking forward to our upcoming festivals - the All Available Light Film Festival in Yukon Territory, Canada, the Victoria Film Festival in British Columbia, Canada, Montana’s Big Sky Film Festival, Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival,  Durango Independent Film Festival, Vancouver International Women in Film Festival  & Vision Maker Film Festival  in Nebraska. See your Screenings and Events page to see if there is a screening near you and contact us at warriorwomenfilm@gmail.com to see if we can bring it to your community! 


An important highlight was bringing the film home and screening it for Oceti Sakowin in Rapid City, South Dakota with the support of VisionMaker Media. Madonna & Marcella took this opportunity to honor the local Warrior Women who have been fighting for their communities. This gathering is the first of 200 for which the Warrior Women Project is raising impact funding to convene in order to strengthen, support, and highlight the critical leadership of Indigenous women. 

Pictured are Jackie Dunn, Josephine Thunder Shield, Karen Little Wounded, Joye Braun, Phyllis Bald Eagle, Madonna Thunder Hawk, Jean Roach, Olowan Martinez, Carla Lisa Cheyenne, Carla Rae Marshall, and Lilias Jones Jarding.


The Warrior Women team has been thoroughly enjoying the festival tour and we attempting to travel to as many film festivals & screenings as possible, not only to support the film but also to be able to engage with the audiences and local activist community both indigenous and allies! Our goal is to focus the film’s engagement strategy on revitalizing the role women play in building and maintaining strong, impenetrable Native societies. 

In addition to festivals, Madonna & Marcella were invited to the Netherlands to celebrate the  45th anniversary of the NETHERLANDS ASSOCIATION FOR NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS (NANAI) Foundation.

Madonna went to honor the life of the founder and her long time comrade Maria van Kints - with whom she is pictured with in Rotterdam in 1983 in the below right photo. Maria and NANAI were key figures in the growth of the international indigenous movement at the United Nations in the 1980s.


2019 is proving to be even more exciting with more invitations coming in and with our goal of having as many eyes and minds as possible be influenced or changed by the experience of Warrior Women. 

The has been receiving praise from media outlets such as  POV MagazineColor LinesWomen and HollywoodBlack Girl NerdsLakota Country Times, and de Volkskrant.


We are VERY pleased to announce that we joined forces with GOOD DOCS! They are an educational distributor which champions of creative documentary films that promote new ideas, social change, and human rights. 

You can purchase your Warrior Women licensing and DVD by visiting www.gooddocs.net/product-page/warrior-women. Find out more about Educational DVD & Screening opportunities by emailing outreach@gooddocs.net for more information.  


Warrior Women will be airing on select PBS Stations through the NETA network beginning February 25, 2019 at 8pm on South Dakota Public Broadcasting. Many more cities to follow and dates will be announced  soon for broadcast throughout the month of March 2019. MORE exciting information to follow! 

We feel so grateful to be able to count on you as our supporters. Warrior Women is not just a film, it is a continuation of Native women’s activism and resistance. If you are able, please consider donating to support the ongoing activism and grassroots organizing of the Warrior Women film team. Every little bit helps keep a grandma in action!