Camera d’Or winner “WAR PONY” in theatres July 28th; lead star Jojo Bapteise Whiting will star in a new tv series “Secrets”

By Oliver Carnay

I first saw this stunning, heartfelt, and well-directed movie “WAR PONY” last week at a special by-invite-only screening at Caviar production office on Sunset Blvd. (between Bank of America and the old Arclight Cinerama Dome) but when the opportunity came to meet one of the directors and stars of the film, I went on to watch it again (at American Cinematheque at Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, CA). Attending the Q&A were director @ginagammell__ (co-director Riley Keough was not able to attend), writer Frank Sioux Bob, Executive Producer Pte Cante Win Poor Bear, Producer Willi White, and lead actors Jojo Bapteise Whiting and LaDainian Crazy Thunder .
The film was awarded the 2022 Camera d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. Very impressive and remarkable in the film are first-time actors Jojo Bapteise Whiting and LaDainian Crazy Thunder who play two young Oglala Lakota men growing up in the Pine Ridge Reservation. Whiting is a 23 year-old young father “Bill” who takes care of his two sons and there’s nothing more important to him than to just be a good and respectable person. He makes money by running errands to a wealthy man he met on the road. He also started breeding poodles until something happened that changed his demeanor. Meanwhile, 12 year-old “Matho” (Crazy Thunder) keeps on making destructive decisions that desperately asks for approval from his young father. One day, he got kicked out of the house. He found shelter from an old grandma but also failed to follow the rules and so he became homeless again. He tried to go back and visit his father to ask forgiveness but only to find out his father just passed. One night of stealing food from a house, Bill and Matho crossed each other’s path.r

This movie is a powerful tale of life, hope, despite the harsh reality of life at the Pine Ridge Reservation community, co-directors Gina Gammell and Riley Keogh (Daisy Jones & the Six, Zola) wonderfully tell this story that creates a gem of a movie! Together, they have written the film with Franklin Sioux Bob and Bill Reddy. Don’t miss it as it will be shown in selected theatres and On Demand starting July 28th.