One of the most politically, environmentally, and historically relevant documentaries at this year’s Sundance Film Festival is Akicita: The Battle of Standing Rock. Director, cinematographer, and editor Cody Lucich gathered extensive footage of the conflict between water protectors and law enforcement to tell the story of those who stood up for clean water.
We sat down with Lucich, producer Gingger Shankar, and water protectors Curtis Ray Yaz and Mark Tilsen Jr. to discuss their experiences over the months and changing seasons in North Dakota, the realities the film reveals, and the awareness it’s intended to bring about.
The importance of clean water is seldom debated, but not everyone is aware of the threats to it. To many, Standing Rock might sound like a far off place and the conflict there one that doesn’t hit home. Among the general public, there are widely diverging opinions about what happened on the Reservation, the legalities of the protests, Native American land claims, and hazards to public safety. Further, much misinformation has been intentionally disseminated making clear understanding difficult. All of which makes a film that to goes to the source to get the truth so useful in our national conversation. And the truth is the Dakota Access Pipeline runs beneath a body of water that provides for 17 million Americans. Maybe that water is worth protecting.
Click here for more information about the film.
Gordon Hight is a writer, photographer, filmmaker, and fly fishing guide living in Teton Valley, Idaho. You can "follow him on Instagram or on his website .