Cultural connection: Wes Studi narrates, appears in documentary on Native warriors

Wes Studi does get some downtime.

And when he does, he can often be found helping out a film project like “Defending the Fire,” which is produced by Silver Bullet Productions.

Studi narrates and appears in the documentary, which will air at 9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, on New Mexico PBS.

“I’ve been working with Pam (Pierce) and Silver Bullet Productions for a number of years,” Studi says. “I help them with their outreach to the pueblos and helping teach kids the basics of making films.”

“Defending the Fire” tells the story of Native American warriors who have navigated a unique cultural and spiritual path, relying on the tenets of the warrior in ancient and modern warfare.

The lessons of the warrior are universal; the spirit of the warrior survives, even in the face of conflict.

With a focus on the spiritual and historic journey of Native American warriors, Silver Bullet Productions presents the story of the warrior, the importance of cultures in modern quests, and the lessons of war through the lens of these cultures.

The characters will be elders and historians from New Mexican tribes and Native veterans of World War II, and the Korean, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

Pierce says it took about six months to figure out what the goals were for the documentary.

“It took us a little longer because we’re a nonprofit and had to raise the money,” Pierce says. “It took a little over a year from the first interview to the last.”

Wes Studi

Studi enjoys working with Silver Bullet Productions because of their education outreach.

He’s worked with them on three documentaries, and his wife often serves as a writer.

“I’ve been lucky to narrate a few of them,” Studi says. “This one I was featured in, because I am a Vietnam veteran.”

Studi says films like “Defending the Fire” are important to Native American youths because there’s not a lot of access to filmmaking for them.

“There’s so few of us involved in the business, that it’s easy for youth to give up,” he says. “I want to help reach out to the youth and show them how to become part of the film industry. There were trailblazers before me, and now I get to stand there and be that inspiration for others. Anytime a young Native American sees a Native actor in a film, it gives them hope.”

SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email film@ABQjournal.com. Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.

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