EXCLUSIVE: Shout! Studios has acquired North American rights to Concourse Media’s drama On Sacred Ground, starring William Mapother (Lost), David Arquette (Scream franchise) and Amy Smart (Stargirl), with plans for a strategic launch of the pic across all major entertainment platforms, beginning with a theatrical day-and-date debut in the first quarter of 2023. Josh Tickell and Robecca Tickell’s Big Picture Ranch will also screen the film on over 1,000 college campuses, as a means of promoting its underlying message of equality and the importance of upholding indigenous rights.
On Sacred Ground follows Daniel (Mapother), a journalist and Afghanistan War military veteran, and Elliot (Arquette), an oil company executive, who find themselves on opposite sides of the fight during the 2016 construction of the contentious Dakota Access Pipeline, which runs through the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota, land that is owned by the Lakota “Sioux” Tribe. As the story unfolds, Daniel starts to align himself more with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe than the oil company he was hired to write about favorably, and the two characters go down separate paths as the events unfold during one of the most heated protests and confrontation with Native American tribes in modern U.S. history.
Protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline occurred at several places because of concerns about its impact on the environment and to sites sacred to Native Americans. Indigenous nations around the country opposed its construction, along with the Sioux tribal nations. In North Dakota, next to and on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, nearly 15,000 people from around the world protested, staging a sit-in for months. The film from directors Josh Tickell and Rebecca Tickell draws on their personal experiences and actual footage shot during the protests. The pair also consulted with Lakota tribal members to ensure the depiction of events in the film accurately told their story.
Josh Tickell, Rebecca Tickell and Mapother wrote On Sacred Ground, which also stars Kerry Knuppe (Pachinko), Frances Fisher (Watchmen), Irene Bedard (The Stand) and Mariel Hemingway (Grace & Grit). Rebecca Tickell, Josh Tickell, Mapother and Wesley Hartshorn served as the film’s producers. Concourse Media holds worldwide sales right and will be presenting the pic to potential buyers at the 2022 Cannes Film Market.
“On Sacred Ground is a potent drama about a conflict as old as America itself,” said Shout! Studios’ Vice President of Acquisitions, Jordan Fields. “Josh and Rebecca Tickell have crafted an engrossing and eye-opening film that demands a reckoning with how our indigenous populations have been treated for generations. Spoiler alert: their struggle continues.”
“We’re hopeful that On Sacred Ground can awaken audiences to the intersection of indigenous issues and the climate crisis,” added Big Picture Ranch’s Rebecca Tickell. “One thing we realized making this movie is that, to heal our planet, we may first have to heal the mistakes of our past.”
Other upcoming releases from Shout Studios! include the drama I’m Charlie Walker, starring Mike Colter and Dylan Baker; the medieval action-adventure pic Kingslayer, starring Ryan Gage, David Hayman and John Rhys-Davies; and the animated features Gulliver Returns and Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon.
Shout’s Fields and Steven Katz, Vice President of Business Affairs, negotiated the deal for On Sacred Ground, with Concourse Media CEO Matthew Shreder on behalf of the filmmakers.
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