Monday, November 16, 2015


YoungLakota_origins_pressrelease_sunnycliffordYOUNG LAKOTA

WHEN: November 20, 7:30-10:00 pm
Merseles Studios, 339 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07302
TICKETS: $10 online/$12 at door
(201) 795-5386

Jersey City Theater Center (JCTCT) presents Young Lakota, an award-winning, thought-provoking and emotionally engaging documentary about young Native Americans who must reconcile a painful legacy they inherited with their present day reality of life on the Prine Ridge Reservation.

A JCTC-Films presentation, the screening of Young Lakota is part of the Origins series and will be followed by Talk-Back with the filmmakers, Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt.

The documentary follows Sunny Clifford, living on the reservation after two years away in college, and her twin sister Serena, an unwed mother. Their life on the Reservation seems one of inevitable poverty and a hard-scrabble future, but also one of hope. When Cecelia Fire Thunder, the first female president of the Lakota Sioux tribe, challenges the status quo by defying an anti-abortion South Dakota law, an entire community is forced to question their ideals and loyalties. As the film follows the surprising highs and lows of the statewide referendum on abortion and a divisive tribal election, Sunny and Serena experience a political awakening.

"We're delighted to screen Young Lakota in Jersey City as part of the Origin's series,” said Marion Lipschutz . “The film's themes of identity, history, and discovering your origins will compliment the other events included in the series."

She added, "The three young people in Young Lakota have returned to the Pine Ridge Reservation, a place they left as children, to connect to their history and culture, but they are soon brought swept up in a very contemporary story over abortion and women’s rights. In following their lives, we worked hard to integrate the their search for connection to their past, with the specifics of their daily lives, which seemed, in many ways, to be just like those of many young people living in the U.S.”

“I hope this film can lead to inspiration for young people to voice their opinions and concerns, whatever the issues,” said Sunny Clifford. “I also hope the film can lead to open discussion around issues faced in the film, such as the importance of reproductive justice, especially for Indigenous women who seem to have been left out of the conversation in mainstream media for a long time.”

Young Lakota, an Incite Pictures Production, originally premiered on PBS’s acclaimed Independent Lens documentary series been screened several times as an outreach program to bring attention to the current plight of Native Americans. Young Lakota has been shown at the South Dakota Film Fest, Red Nation Film Fest, Smithsonian Native Cinema Arts, Santa Fe Film Fest, New Orleans Film Fest, Big Sky Documentary Film Fest, and the Cucaloras Film Festival.

(Image: Sunny Clifford, whose poltical awakening is featured in the award-winning documentary)

JCTC-Films and other portions of Origins was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this series do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.


Origins was also made possible through the generosity of Ben LoPiccolo Development Group, JCTC’s Board of Directors, private donors and local Jersey City businesses.

Jersey City Theater Center, Inc. (JCTC) manages Merseles Studios and the adjacent White Eagle Hall, currently under construction. JCTC is a nonprofit, 501c3 arts organization committed to presenting innovative and progressive performing & visual arts as well as educational arts programs that embrace the multicultural identity and preserve the rich history of Jersey City, bringing its community closer together and enhancing its quality of life. >