“Work hard.
Be dedicated.
Develop a thick skin.
But most of all, do it yourself.”
- SuAnne Big Crow

SUANNE BIG CROW is the story of a Lakota teenager who becomes one of the best high-school basketball players in history. It is also a tale of hope on one of the most hopeless plots of land in America, The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Prophesied to do great things for her people, SuAnne teaches her tribe about what she calls “a better way.” But in 1992, at the age of 17 and on the way to pick up the Miss Basketball Award, she tragically flips her car and dies. Our story returns to Pine Ridge 29 years later, where SuAnne has become a hero and a household name. Her legacy continues to live through everyone: kids who weren’t born yet look up to her, while elders pause in admiration upon hearing her name. Anyone you meet on the “Rez” has a story about how SuAnne continues to influence them. At SuAnne’s alma mater, Pine Ridge High, the Lady Thorpes heritage continues. This year they fight again for the 2019 Class A State Championship. One player is said to possess SuAnne’s natural skill, and all eyes are on her. On the Rez and on the court, everybody’s looking for the next SuAnne.

The Lakota have captured the imagination of American culture for centuries. They lived through endless battles, massacres and broken treaties; all while trying to keep ownership of their land. In 1890, they slaughtered Custer’s cavalry at The Battle of Wounded Knee. Mt. Rushmore was built on top of their sacred Black Hills. They made national television in 1973, as they took on the FBI. Historic Lakota leaders, like Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, became well known for their vision and endurance in the face of American encroachment. And in the late 1980’s, while the rest of the world was looking the other way, a new hero appeared. She was an unstoppable force, quickly becoming the stuff of modern myth. Medicine men saw blue sparks flying off her head when she ran down the court, sensing her once-in-a-generation leadership. President Brian Brewer secretly cherishes a lock of her hair, claiming SuAnne’s life “was like a movie, the way it should be.”

The past, present and future are woven together to tell SuAnne’s story. We enter the film in the 1980’s through unprecedented VHS coverage of SuAnne’s career games and home videos, revealing who she was on and off the court. Her influence on present-day Lakota is shared as modern-day characters allow cameras into their unique lives. A buffalo herder rediscovers the significance of the hunt. Taking back his family’s land at gunpoint, a warrior lives by his grandfather’s rules, a chainsaw tears branches for a ritual sweat lodge. Coach Laura Big Crow serenades us at her house. The kids play street ball at midnight. We travel to an away game with the Lady Thorpes and sing fight songs on the bus. SuAnne came at an unlikely time, when Lakota heroes ceased to exist. She provides inspiration for her once great warrior nation, to continue the fight to save their dying culture.

SUANNE BIG CROW is a model for the nation on what hard work for social change can result in. The story of SuAnne is a true hero story: a normal girl who simply wanted to do the right thing by way of helping her people.

Kris Kaczor

Director

Kris Kaczor began his filmmaking career documenting his alma mater’s 1995-1996 Michigan State University Campus Riots. His collected stories were broadcasted on national and international television. Graduating with a degree in education, Kaczor then attended The Motion Picture Institute of Michigan, while teaching middle-school Spanish. His first films, GIANT SIZED and HANDS ON FIRE received national and international acclaim. Realizing the potential of film to inspire positive social change, Kaczor moved to Brooklyn in 2005 with a desire to create documentaries that would help the world. For the last decade he has been shooting and directing commercial and independent productions, receiving television and theatrical success. In 2015, Kaczor released DIVIDE IN CONCORD, his directorial debut. The story chronicled an 84-year-old woman successfully battling the 3rd largest industry in the world, banning bottled water from her town. The film was chosen as part of Best of Hot Docs, released nationally on PBS, and shepherded by filmmaker Michael Moore. In 2018 Kaczor released WE ARE ALL ANGELS, an unconventional feature documentary about humans, with the intention of uncovering the odd spirit of our times. As an alternative to traditional distribution, the film was released free online for all to access instantly. Currently in production, his third feature SUANNE BIG CROW will chronicle the story of one of the best high school basketball players in history, who gave hope to one of the most hopeless plots of land in America – The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Kaczor resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Walter Matteson III

Producer

After graduating from the University of California Berkeley with a degree in Rhetoric, Film, Folklore, and Legal Philosophy, Walter Matteson began producing short documentaries about the alternative education system in the San Francisco Bay Area. After completing FIGURES AND LOOPS, a feature length documentary exploring the obscure world of competitive artistic roller-skating, Walter fell in love with the themes inherent to subcultures and decided to move to New York City to pursue documentary filmmaking. There, Walter began working at the Tribeca Film Festival as a production coordinator and after two seasons with the festival, he went freelance and began working at Radical Media in NYC, where he gained in-depth and worldwide documentary and film production experience. He worked with award-winning documentarians Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky. At Radical, Walter helped to produce five seasons of ICONOCLASTS, an award-winning documentary series. In 2014, Walter directed and produced PRETTY OLD, an award-winning feature length documentary about an obscure Senior Citizen Beauty Pageant, Executive Produced by Sarah Jessica Parker and Joe Berlinger. For the last 3 years Walter has produced FRIDAY NIGHT TYKES and BEST SHOT, television docuseries' that offer an inside look at youth athletics, following several teams, on and off the field, as they compete for the state championship. Walter has developed and produced a wide range of film and television projects while traveling the world constantly searching for characters, universal symbols, and stories to be shared with the rest of humanity. Matteson resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Inila Wakan

Story Producer

Inila Wakan is a social activist and native Lakota living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He co-founded the Greens/Green Party USA in 1990. He co-founded the Delaware Valley American Indian Alliance in 1988. He was elected at the local, state, national, and international level as a delegate and spokesman for the growing Green Party Movement for more than ten years. In 1996 he was lead coordinator for the "Caravan And March For Social Justice 96" which had hundreds of peace, social and environmental, labor and third-party, pastors for peace, National Organization for Women, and social change movements endorsements. Wakan founded the Tetuwan Oyate Lakota Guard in 1997 to bring further awareness to issues confronting the Lakota Nation and gave testimony to the U.S Commission on Civil Rights in 1999, while conducting grassroots patrols in response to a number of murders of Lakota People along the banks of the Rapid Creek in Rapid City, South Dakota. Wakan resides in Kyle, South Dakota.

Matt Lyons

Director of Photography

Matt Lyons is an Emmy award winning cinematographer with a specialty in documentaries and sports. Matt attended the Art Institute of Philadelphia where he fell in love with the craft. He grew quickly into an operator at NFL Films. He was drawn to the art of documentary. He became a full-time cinematographer for NFL Films, his work being featured on national television spanning a wide range of networks. He shot 13 Super Bowls, everything from highlights to national campaign commercials. He shot 7 seasons of the show HARD KNOCKS on HBO and the CBS documentary BLACK 14, receiving 2 Emmy wins for cinematography. He has recently shot for the docuseries’ QB1, BEST SHOT, and ON POINT, all sports shows, following the sagas that are high-school sports teams. Lyons intention is to film topics that open society’s mind and eyes. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and daughter.

Daffyd Cooksey

Sound Recordist

Dafydd Cooksey is a location sound recordist/mixer living in Brooklyn, New York. He received his B.Sc. in Audio Engineering at the University of Glamorgan in his home of South Wales. At that time Dafydd was a live engineer at a local music venue. After 3 years of international travel Dafydd settled in Melbourne Australia where he became involved with NTD television, a non-for profit Chinese broadcaster that broadcast uncensored information. His responsibilities included camera operating, video editing and post production sound mixing. In 2009 Dafydd was invited to work for NTD at their headquarters in New York as a location sound recordist/post-production sound mixer. He has since worked on various network television shows, commercials, short films and feature documentaries as a location sound mixer, music composer and post sound mixer. He worked the full run of Showtime’s THE CIRCUS, which followed the US election campaign from the primaries through to the general election. He currently is the sound recordist for the docuseries BEST SHOT. Cooksey resides in Brooklyn, New York with his wife.

FOR ALL INQUIRIES CONTACT:

KRIS KACZOR

1-917-573-1655

KRIS@750PRODUCTIONS.COM

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK

750 PRODUCTIONS LLC

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

Located at the southern end of the Badlands in South Dakota, Pine Ridge is a harsh, majestic land. Unemployment hovers around 90 percent. Life expectancy is lower than anywhere in the Western Hemisphere, except Haiti. Pine Ridge was established in 1889, and the Oglala, one of the seven subtribes of the Lakota people, moved in. Oglala means "to scatter one's own" in Lakota language. Today it consists of 3,468 squares miles, and is the eighth-largest reservation in the United States, larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined. Only 132 square miles of land is suitable for agriculture.

The Lakota: The Warrior Culture

The Lakota have captured the imagination of American popular culture for centuries. They lived through endless battles, massacres and broken treaties, all while trying to keep ownership of their land. The Battle of Greasy Grass, also known as the Little Bighorn was in 1876. The death of Sitting Bull and the Wounded Knee Massacre took place in December 1890.  Mt. Rushmore was built on top of their sacred Black Hills. They made national television in 1973, as they took on the FBI. Historic Lakota leaders, like Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, and Fools Crow became well known for their vision and endurance, in the face of American encroachment. And in the late 1980’s a new hero appeared, while the rest of the world was looking the other way. She was an unstoppable force named SuAnne Big Crow.

SuAnne Big Crow - The Hero in High Tops

SuAnne Big Crow was a young girl from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, who became one of the best high-school basketball players in history. She was all-state for 3 years, scored 67 points in a single game and brought home the first ever reservation championship in 1989. December 19th was declared “SuAnne Big Crow Day” by the state of South Dakota. At at time when Lakota heroes cease to exist, SuAnne inspired her dying nation, but died on the way to pick up the Miss Basketball Award at the age of 17. Her funeral procession was six miles long. She was known as a peacemaker and used her influence to teach children to stay away from drugs and alcohol. SuAnne said there was “a better way.” She envisioned a place where the Lakota children would be safe and happy. She wanted to call it “Happy Town.” Decades later, she is a household name to her Lakota people.

The Sport

Basketball is by far the most popular sport on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, as it is on most reservations. Many tribes promote the sport and see it as a way of keeping Native youths away from the problems of drugs and alcohol. Basketball is nearly a religion, and certainly a way of life on the reservation. In Pine Ridge the kids play street-ball at midnight at a place called “Yo Park.” If there’s a hoop, you’re going to see basketball being played.

Chick Big Crow - The Mother

Chick Big Crow is SuAnne’s mother. She is a strict, single mom, and was in the car that killed her daughter. She miraculously survived. After a period of mourning, Chick decided to make her daughter’s dream of a “Happy Town” a reality. Chick was instrumental in establishing the first Boys and Girls Club in Indian country. It was called the SuAnne Big Crow Boys and Girls Club. Inside is a throwback diner from the 50’s. It’s called “Happy Town” and is for the children of the reservation to have “a better way.”

Chick believes that SuAnne was here to do something great for the people. Chick Big Crow was diagnosed with cancer recently and has been gallantly fighting the disease. Chick and her team are currently struggling to keep the Boy’s and Girl’s Club solvent.

SuAnne Big Crow Boys and Girls Club - The Dream Realized

On a visit to Pine Ridge, then president Bill Clinton was moved by the Oglala culture. He initiated a Boys and Girls Club to be established on the reservation. Chick swears it was SuAnne’s spirit whispering into “Slick Willy’s” ear. Following his visit, President Clinton called both Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo to discuss the creation of a youth center in Pine Ridge. In August 2000, the youth center became a reality with the dedication of the SuAnne Big Crow Youth Wellness and Opportunity Center, a Boys and Girls Club of America. The building aimed to meet the dreams of SuAnne Big Crow by providing area youth with a drug- and alcohol-free environment. The SuAnne Big Crow Boys and Girls Club was the first Boys and Girls Club to be built in Indian Country.

Happy Town - The Icing on the Cake

SuAnne envisioned a place where Lakota children could go, and have a place where they would be safe and happy. In fact, she called it “Happy Town.” And now the 1950’s, pink and baby blue, Elvis and Marilyn covered, checked floor, soda fountain diner is called “Happy Town.” They even cut a 1955 Packard Clipper in half and hung it on the wall.

Laura Big Crow - The Coach (2018)

Laura is SuAnne’s cousin. She was inspired by SuAnne to play basketball, became a unstoppable star herself, and is now the modern day coach of The Lady Thorpes. She’s not afraid to scream a drill and she never seems to miss a basket. The documentary will follow Laura and The Lady Thorpes on the road to rival, and perhaps racist courts, as the glory of another state championship guides the fiery Lakota team.

The Lady Thorpes - The Team

“LADY THORPES DOMINATE, MOVE INTO TITLE GAME.” Dec 15, 2017 Rapid City Journal

The Lady Thorpes is the spirited team that SuAnne played on. It is also the team that this film will follow for a season, both on and off the court. We will find them practicing at the local Pine Ridge High School and realize how scrappy reservation ball can really be. We’ll see them raging at games, singing on the bus, and being normal high schoolers on the Rez. There’s talk of a new player possessing SuAnne’s skill and style. Laura Big Crow drives the team to their limits, which she knows are high. Everybody’s looking for the next SuAnne.

Tom Casey (“Crash”)  - The Sports Disk Jockey

Mr. Crash is a local disk jockey and sports broadcaster for Kili FM. Kili’s tagline is "We are the voice of the Lakota Nation.” Tom knew SuAnne well and was the sports commentator when SuAnne was on fire in the late 80’s. He says that watching her play it was like watching a natural. He is a direct man with a no-bull-shit type of deamenor. When asked to simply describe SuAnne, he tears up, and needs time to collect his thoughts.

Jordan Big Crow - The Nephew

Jordan is SuAnne’s nephew. He takes care of the SuAnne Big Crow Youth Center, along with Chick. He is also the head chef at Happy Town, the 1950’s throwback diner. He posts funny things on social media, skates, does burnouts in his cool car, and loves to carry on his auntie’s dream.

CeCe Big Crow - The Kid Sister

CeCe is SuAnne’s sister, teammate, and partner in crime. She was there when SuAnne silenced a crowd of haters in Lead, South Dakota, by spontaneously performing a traditional dance in the center of the arena. She believed in SuAnne, and believed that they were ones that were going to bring back their culture. She played on the same team that SuAnne led and dominated. She was there when SuAnne made the winning shot, taking the first state championship in Indian history. Today she is the Board of Director of The Visions of SuAnne Big Crow, Inc.

Bamm Brewer - The Buffalo Herder

Bamm is SuAnne’s cousin. He is a cowboy, buffalo rancher, organizer, rodeo coordinator and entertainer. SuAnne was a hero to Bamm. He is also a meat cutter and One Spirit’s Meat House food program manager. If the Meat House passes inspection, the Lakota will become one of the only tribes in the area to have a USDA-approved processing facility. As Brewer says, “In the past, we were back country guys cutting up meat. Taking it to the USDA level is pretty darn cool to me.”

Inila Wakan - The Warrior

Inila knew SuAnne and he knows her family. He will be the story producer on the film. Inila is a social activist and native Lakota living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He co-founded the Greens/Green Party USA in 1990. He co-founded the Delaware Valley American Indian Alliance in 1988. He was elected at the local, state, national, and international level as a delegate and spokesman for the growing Green Party Movement for more than ten years. In 1996 he was lead coordinator for the "Caravan And March For Social Justice 96" which had hundreds of peace, social and environmental, labor and third-party, pastors for peace, National Organization for Women, and social change movements endorsements. Wakan founded the Tetuwan Oyate Lakota Guard in 1997 to bring further awareness to issues confronting the Lakota Nation and gave testimony to the U.S Commission on Civil Rights in 1999, while conducting grassroots patrols in response to a number of murders of Lakota People along the banks of the Rapid Creek in Rapid City, South Dakota. Wakan resides in Kyle, South Dakota.

Charles Zimiga - The Coach (1989)

Charlie coached SuAnne all though her glory. She remains one of his only two heros, the other being Billy Mills. He still cherishes a letter that SuAnne sent when she was on a trip to Russia playing ball. He cries when he talks about her. He says, “I think that we were all meant to be with one another.”

Steve - The Best Friend

Steve was SuAnne’s dear high school friend. He used to look up to her for guidance. He’s still enamored with his friend and says that “SuAnne was better at basketball than most people will be at anything in their entire lives.” He claims to have had a dream where SuAnne’s spirit came to him and told him something that changed his life forever. He also has an amazing shot.