The Cheyenne River Youth Project announced today that its 2022 short documentary film “Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count)” is an official selection for the 17th Annual Beaufort International Film Festival. The festival will take place on Feb. 21-26 in the historic coastal city of Beaufort, South Carolina.
The CRYP documentary is scheduled to be shown on Friday, Feb. 24 at the University of South Carolina Beaufort’s Center for the Arts. It will appear third in a three-film block starting at 11:20 a.m.
CRYP commissioned the project in 2021, with primary filming taking place during the RedCan invitational graffiti jam in July. The approximately 35-minute film launched on Feb. 1, 2022 in conjunction with the public capital campaign to fund the youth project’s new art center, which is scheduled to open in summer 2024.
The film isn’t just about the art center, however. It shares the youth project’s decades-long journey in youth development work and arts programming, and it explores the role of the arts in cultural reclamation, language revitalization, and most of all, healing.
“It turned into so much more than we originally imagined, simply because it brings viewers into the heart of our circle,” Garreau explained. “You are able to meet our kids, parents and elders, as well as the artists and partners from across the country who have become part of our extended family.”
According to FilmFreeway, a service that connects filmmakers, screenwriters and festivals, the Beaufort International Film Festival is one of the “Top 100 Best Reviewed Festivals in the World.” In addition, MovieMaker Magazine has called it one of the “Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World.” Part of that allure is due to the fact that more than 20 major motion pictures have been shot in Beaufort and the Sea Islands, including “Forrest Gump,” “The Prince of Tides,” “The Big Chill,” “The Great Santini” and “GI Jane.”
“We’re honored to be included in this film festival,” Garreau said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to share our story, our community and our rich Lakota culture.”
In the year since its introduction, “Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count)” also was accepted into the Latino & Native American Film Festival in Stamford, Connecticut, where it received a Social Impact Award. And, it received a Gold Award — the second-highest accolade — from the Spotlight Documentary Film Awards, where it was one of 190 award-winners out of thousands of international submissions.
The documentary is currently streaming at vimeo.com/lakotayouth. You also can view it at lakotayouth.org/arts-center, where you also can learn more about the new Waniyetu Wowapi Institute & Art Park and its public capital campaign.
To learn more about the Cheyenne River Youth Project and its programs, and for information about making donations and volunteering, call (605) 964-8200 or visit www.lakotayouth.org. And, to stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
The Cheyenne River Youth Project, founded in 1988, is a grassroots, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River reservation with access to a vibrant and secure future through a wide variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities that ensure strong, self-sufficient families and communities.