Chat about 'The Only Good Indian'
August 30, 2007
This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.
Tom Carmody, writer-producer of "The Only Good Indian," a new film currently shooting in Lawrence, will discuss the challenges of trying to stage a Hollywood-style period piece featuring big-name actors in Kansas.
Greetings chatters, I'm Jon Niccum, entertainment editor of the Journal-World, and Ill be moderating this chat. Please welcome Tom Carmody, writer-editor of the film "The Only Good Indian."
Great to be here, Jon.
Can you explain the process for researching, consulting, etc., that went into making the film historically accurate and racially sensitive?
Certainly. As far is it pertains to the Native American Boarding Schools, there are a number of excellent books that show what happened. In addition, I spent time at the Haskell Cultural Center, in there archives, researching the story. Finally, I was able to interview a Native American man, George Whitewater, who was forcibly taken from his parents to attend boarding school.
The project sounds similar to Phillip Noyce's "Rabbit Proof Fence". Is "Good Indian" based on actual events or is it fictional?
Rabbit Proof Fence, an excellent film, is based on a novel and is a true story. Our film is fictional.
What does Kansas have to offer for shooting the movie that other states do not?
For one, this is a Kansas story. It involves a Native American Tribe, The Kansas Kickapoo Tribe. We have received tremendous support from the Kansas Kickapoo Tribe. Other things that Kansas has to offer is beautiful landscape and locations - locations like the Flint Hills that have not been seen in films before. Also, the local talent - cast and crew - are fully committed here in Kansas. They truly believe in the story.
is there much of a film network in kansas? there's a nice film community in lawrence, but it's very indie. what's the process for finding extras, props and such?
The resources are there, it just takes a little work finding them. The Kansas Film commision has been a great help. Also, the city of Lawrence and the surrounding community have all helped in the process. Besides Lawrence, casting great talent out of Kansas City, with the help of Heather Laird, has been helpfull.
Do you need anymore extras? We missed the casting call.
I am sorry you missed the casting call. We had a casting call at Haskell, at the Potowattomie Reservation and the Kickapoo Reservation. We actually found a young man, Richard McKinney, aged 10, a featured actor, at the Kickapoo Reservation. Right now, we are probably fully cast.
How's the film progressing? When do you expect it to be completed and premiered?
The filming has been going great. The difficulty has been the intense weather (the heat) but hopefully that's behind us now. We hope to wrap filming in several weeks and have an edited film in about 6 months.
is the juice kevin wilmott is building across the country going to translate into more opportunities for other lawrence filmmakers?
I think it will. His previous film, Bunker Hill, has just been completed. I think it's going to make a big impact (full disclosure: I'm an Executive Producer on that film). I know he has a slate of other projects he's considering. It will certainly draw attention to the local film scene.
"the only good indian" is a pretty inflammatory name. do you think that will affect viewership, or do you think people will get the spirit in which it's intended?
It could be construed that way but the film is definitely pro-Native American. It's a post-western as seen through the eyes of the main characters who are Native American - something that probably has never been done before in a "western." When the film comes out it will hopefully be evident as to what we are trying to say with the title.
Thanks for you time, Tom. Good luck with the film.
Thanks, Jon, it's been a great experience so far. Our goal is to make an entertaining film that also can provide a little education along the way.