Published October 29, 2015
GALLUP, NEW MEXICO – At first, Oglala Lakota youth (and fellow Native Max team member) Tara Rose Weston wanted to submit a small film into the Pine Ridge Youth Documentary Competition. Although she had no idea where she wanted her film’s direction to go, she knew the guidelines for submissions were about being personal and about the lives of the youth. Stepping out of her comfort zone, Weston decided to express what she’s always wanted to tell someone through her art.
However, nearing the deadline for submissions Weston lost one of her childhood friends to suicide. “I had been reconnecting with him for a few weeks before it happened, and we hadn’t spoken since we last talked a few years ago before his first deployment. I had no idea how to deal with that” she explains. Weston finished the film a few days before the deadline and decided to dedicate her film to her friend, because he believed in her and supported her.
Weston’s touching documentary The Things I’m Afraid to Tell You won first prize in the youth documentary competition, which was held by South Dakota Film Festival, Pharrell Williams’ i am OTHER and Songs My Brother Taught Me‘s director Chloe Zhao, back in August.
Her documentary gained attention in the last few months. Her video on Youtube has upwards of 2,000 views and was shown at the South Dakota Film Festival. From just a submission to being presented to a large festival was something Weston never imagined. “I’ve received nothing but positive messages and comments that it has helped people by telling them what they needed to hear at the moment. That’s all I could have asked for, for it to get through to at least one person and the response that its received is amazing.”
Monday night, October 26, 2015, Weston received some more exciting news. Her documentary won Best Short Narrative at the Gallup Film Festival. “I was so shocked! I got in last minute and didn’t even get to attend the festival, so it was a huge surprise when I opened my email and it said I had won” Weston admits.
Weston tells us she won’t be submitting her award-winning documentary anywhere else, as it was her first film and learned a thing or two about filmmaking. “It feels a little like amateur hour” she laughs. “I do, however, look forward to working on more projects and submitting them to festivals.
Check out more of Weston’s works on her website.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published in Native Max Magazine. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
CORRECTION: This article was attributed to Johnnie Jae. It was written by Kelly Holmes. Native News Online apologizes for our error. Correction made at 12:30 pm – EDT, Thursday, October 29, 2015.