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Sacheen Littlefeather: Fact Or Fiction? The Academy Museum Owes An Exhibit

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As this is written, the interested public is still waiting for something, anything, from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences or its movie museum by way of response to their latest crisis.

Said crisis was provoked over the weekend by a detailed column in the San Francisco Chronicle claiming that the late Sacheen Littlefeather, recently celebrated and apologized to by the Academy for her on-stage Native American activism and the backlash thereto, was not a Native American at all.

Rather, said the column, citing documents and interviews with Littlefeather’s two surviving sisters, she was of European and Mexican-American extraction, with little or no Indian blood. What she did have, the piece said, was a history of instability, and of spreading untrue stories about her background and the alcoholism and abusive behavior of her California-born, Hispanic father.

Queried about the reports on Monday, a spokesperson for the Academy did not respond, while a spokesperson for the museum said that it “respectfully declines commenting on Saturday’s op-ed.”

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Given the Academy’s investment in Littlefeather—who earlier this year received a formal letter of apology from the Academy’s then-president David Rubin, followed by a night of reconciliation that recalled her 1973 on-stage rejection of Marlon Brando’s Oscar, packaged with a three-hour “visual history” interview conducted by the museum’s director, Jacqueline Stewart—it’s going to take more than that. A lot more.

In truth, the museum’s credibility now hangs on getting Littlefeather right. If she has been unfairly tagged for manufacturing family history and trading on false cultural identity, researchers and lawyers at that repository of film history should be well-equipped to clear her. But if, God forbid, the museum in its inaugural year has succumbed to an unfortunate delusion, perhaps because it fit so neatly with contemporary notions about racism and cultural identity, there is no one better suited to clean up the mess.

It’s an obligation, both to those who fund the museum, and to those who would trust its unfolding vision of movie history.

Whatever the final verdict, any close examination of Littlefeather’s background and her claims of entertainment industry harassment through the years is going to be an unnerving experience. It takes only a viewing of the Stewart interview, posted on YouTube and conducted just weeks before Littlefeather’s death on Oct.2, to realize the depth of the problem.

By her own testimony, much of it said to be given here for the first time, Sacheen Littlefeather was a deeply troubled soul who struggled mightily with issues of identity and acceptance.

She was, by her own account, a diagnosed schizophrenic who spent a year in a mental hospital after a suicide attempt around the age of 19. She described the institution as “really a hell hole, ‘Cuckoo’s Nest.’” For nearly two months, she was catatonic, she said. Voices had pushed her toward suicide. A pair of doctors, whose names she does not disclose, used a terrifying regimen of “psychodrama”—they played her parents, while black-hooded figures listened in a dim-lit room—to help her reconstruct memories of childhood abuse and abandonment.

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She was on Thorazine then, and other meds later, Littlefeather told Stewart. There was a later episode, but she mostly stabilized with much help from a San Francisco Bay Area Native American community that crystallized around a 19-month occupation of Alcatraz Island that began in 1969. She was drawn by the feeling of “tribal togetherness,” said Littlefeather.

Learning about and sharing Indian life, “I got to rediscover who I am, who I really am,” Littlefeather told Stewart. In particular, she became invested in her father’s heritage. “I hated my Indian father. It was a fact. I’m half Indian,” she told Stewart.

While some ‘facts’ are now disputed by Littlefeather’s sisters, there is no doubt that she soon afterward made contact by letter with Marlon Brando, who backed Native American activists at the time, and cultivated a relationship that led to her speech in his stead at the 1973 Oscar ceremony.

Stewart’s interview includes not much detail about Littlefeather’s supposed boycott by the film industry. Even regarding a much-repeated claim that John Wayne had to be retrained by six security men from hauling her off the stage is somewhat muffled here. She didn’t see the imbroglio, but “heard a commotion backstage.” Later encounters with the likes of Walter Matthau and Lana Turner were delightful; but she says someone fired two shots in her direction as she arrived at Brando’s home after the famous show. “The angels and my ancestors were really looking after me,” says Littlefeather.

There are some startling claims on the video. Littlefeather, for instance, says food was poisoned at the first Thanksgiving dinner, causing Indians to die, for which the Pilgrims gave thanks. At Wounded Knee, the FBI was supposedly blocked from hauling Indian activists to Guantanamo-like oblivion by world media attention to Littlefeather.

In the interview, she goes unchallenged. The more amazing statements draw an occasional ‘wow’ from Stewart, or a note that things aren’t taught that way in school.

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But something more is in order at this point—perhaps a well-researched museum exhibit, tracing roots, realities, and final lessons to be learned here.

Sacheen Littlefeather: Fact or Fiction?



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Netflix & Paramount+ To Profile ‘Strip Search Caller’ ; TVOKids Spotlights Down Syndrome With Toon Series; ‘One Piece Film Red’ London Takeover — Global Briefs

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Netflix & Paramount+ UK To Profile ‘Strip Search Caller’

Netflix and Paramount+ have struck a first of its kind-of-deal over a true crime documentary telling the story of the strip search caller in the U.S. Paramount+ has taken UK rights to Pervert: The Hunt for the Strip Search Caller and Netflix has rest of world on the doc, which it will be calling Don’t Pick Up the Phone. The deal is believed to be the first time two streamers have worked in such a way in the UK and rest of world. The doc tells the shocking story of a hoax caller who targeted fast food restaurants across the U.S. – posing as a police officer investigating a theft, the caller instructed managers to strip-search the young female employees he said were suspects. For many victims, what began as a humiliating strip search escalated into sexual abuse.

Canada’s TVOKids Spotlights Down Syndrome In Animated Series ‘Griffin And Turner’

EXCLUSIVE: Ontario, Canada’s TVOkids and Big Jump Entertainment are working on 2D-animated series Griffin and Turner. Based on real Canadian brothers who a significant online following, the show follows the supportive pair as they, their friends and family undertake personal challenges but focus on the journey rather than winning. Turner has Down syndrome, and TVOKids executive producer Kirsten Hurd noted the series has been developed in consultation with the Down syndrome community. Producer Big Jump is behind shows such as Shutterbug and Big Words, Small Stories.

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London Gets ‘One Piece Film Red’ Takeover After Record Haul

To celebrate the record-breaking haul of One Piece Film Red in the UK, the Straw Hat Pirates are set for a takeover of iconic London locations on November 26. Via local distributor Anime Limited and Toei Animation, the cast and memorable scenes from the series will be projected onto the County Hall of London, opposite the London Eye as well as other key locations. One Piece Film: Red has grossed over £800,000 in the UK and Ireland since it released earlier this month, making it the biggest of the long-running franchise. A phenomenon in Japan, One Piece Film Red has grossed $162M to date worldwide 



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‘All Quiet On The Western Front’, ‘Belfast’ Top 2022 EFA Arts & Crafts Awards

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Edward Berger’s All Quiet On The Western Front and Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast top the European Film Academy’s Excellence Awards honoring achievement in the arts and crafts categories, the winners of which were announced on Wednesday.

Belfast won best European Production Design for Jim Clay, whose credits include Children Of Men, for which he won a Bafta in 2006, and Murder On The Orient Express.

The drama, set against the backdrop of the beginnings of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland in 1969, also won best European Costume Design for Charlotte Walter (Blithe Spirit, Misbehaviour)

Netflix-backed German WWI drama All Quiet On The Western Front won best European Make-up & Hair for Heike Merker, and Best European Special Effects for Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller and Markus Frank.

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 In other categories, best European Cinematography was won by Kate McCullough for her work on Colm Bairéad’s Irish-language drama The Quiet Girl.

Best European Editing went to Özcan Vardar and Eytan İpeker for Turkish director Emin Alper’s drama Burning Days.

Polish composer Paweł Mykietyn won best European Original Score went for Jerzy Skolimowski’s EO.

Best European Sound went to Simone Paolo Olivero, Paolo Benvenuti, Benni Atria, Marco Saitta, Ansgar Frerich & Florian Holzner for Michelangelo Frammartino’s cave exploration drama The Hole.

The winners, which are decided by a special expert jury, will receive their awards at the European Film Awards ceremony on 10 December in Reykjavík.

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Jennifer Lopez’s Social Media Mysteriously Goes Dark

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EXCLUSIVE: The actress, producer and top-selling performing artist’s social media channels including Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter have suddenly gone dark in their featured/cover images.

Reps for Jennifer Lopez were unavailable for comment, but we hear from others that The Hustlers and Marry Me actress is on the verge of announcing a new project.

Here’s a look at her Instagram tonight:

While Lopez’s Instagram had erased all posts, a trail of her previous postings remained on Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter. Across all four social media portals, Lopez counts close to 347M followers, the majority of that coming from her Instagram.

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Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions in June 2021 signed a multi-year first-look deal with Netflix spanning feature films, TV series and unscripted content, with an emphasis on projects that support diverse female actors, writers and filmmakers. Lopez co-runs Nuyorican Productions with her producing partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas.

Lopez scored her best opening for a live-action movie at the domestic box office with STX’s 2019 stripper caper Hustlers which debuted to $33.1 million, and grossed $105M stateside, $157.6M worldwide.  As a recording artist, Lopez has sold over 70 million albums, with J.Lo became her bestselling album with 3.8M copies sold in the U.S. and 12M global. Her Netflix thriller The Mother from director Niki Caro is set to debut in May. Her romantic comedy Shotgun Wedding with Josh Duhamel will hit Prime Video on Jan. 27.

On Facebook, one of her followers, Steffany Merino wrote, “What’s happened? Hope you and your wonderful family are ok. I’ll pray for your health and safety.”

Again, we hear something special is in the works in the next few days.



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