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The thunderous voice of the Medicine Man never ceases to relay powerful visions and tales of spirit travel.
CHICAGO, IL, November 19, 2015 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The Lakota medicine man known as Sidney Hasnohorses is a spiritual leader on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He commands a powerful presence with his deeply resonant voice. His spiritual gifts are known for their ability to pull a mind from the harsh realities of the reservation toward an ancient, natural religion.
Within days of his arrival at his Wakpamni Lake Ceremony Grounds six years ago, filmmaker Salvatore Consalvi witnessed mystical rituals, spirit channeling, and grueling flesh offerings by Sidney Hasnohorses. Ceremonies like the Sweat Lodge (Inipi), the Vision Quest (Humbelecha), the Night Ceremony (Yuwipi), and the painful, four-day Sundance are intense experiences, exuding an ancient and deeply spiritual state of mind.
But this mythic Medicine Man has a very human side -- a former brawler with a history of substance abuse and anger issues whose doomsday prophecies years earlier shattered a growing community of supporters.
Consalvi recognized immediately that the charismatic Sidney Hasnohorses and his Oglala Lakota culture would produce an intense feature-length documentary. Consalvi founded Prairie-Ice Productions, and the Sidney Has No Horses project began a long interview, research, and video production phase.
Now Prairie-Ice Productions is ready to complete the documentary. A Kickstarter campaign to pay for two rounds of editing and post-production begins on November 19. The rough-cut of Sidney Has No Horses will be screened at Kartemquin Films, KTQ Lab, after the first round.
"Pending feedback from that community of documentary powerhouses, we hope to have a final release in early 2017," Consalvi said.
The journey to this moment has been a long one for Consalvi, who was first drawn to film-making while recording his experiences managing remote field camps in Antarctica.
"It was often difficult to determine whether the religious leader was an authentic Medicine Man, from a lineage of famous Lakota as he claimed, such as Frank Fools Crow and Crazy Horse, or just another troubled mystic," said Consalvi, who immersed himself in the culture during repeated visits to the reservation. Eventually, Consalvi performed his first Vision Quest and began referring to return visits as, "a slow-motion collision between ancient and modern minds."
The filmmakers began post-production after Consalvi completed a four-year ceremonial cycle. The rituals, prayers, ceremonies, and flesh offerings were all intended to, "to pay the Medicine Man and his ancestors back for my education in the most traditional way possible," Consalvi said.
"The thunderous voice of the Medicine Man never ceases to relay powerful visions and tales of spirit travel," said Consalvi, a scientist by training. "We began accepting the drumming in the Sweat Lodge as the heartbeat of Mother Earth, and the Sundance became a meshwork of prayers, rituals, and ceremonies that coalesced to convert ordinary landscape into sacred space."
All told, a small team, or the director alone, spent upwards of 18 months conducting in-depth interviews and performing the rituals. The interview material, over 70 hours worth, is being organized into what the post-production team refers to as a "seven-direction walk around the Medicine Wheel."
Ancillary landscape and cultural studies in the form of photographic, video, and audio treatments are being added to the library as well. In the months between ceremonies and cultural events, Consalvi researched a wide variety of disciplines to both vet the claims made and to "help the modern mind fully comprehend the deepest meaning of the mystical experiences and ancient traditions.
"Disciplines such as consciousness studies, quantum field theory, spiritual identity, comparative religion, social justice, Lakota History, and ethnic studies were all mined to augment the narrative," Consalvi added.
Prairie-Ice Productions is an independent film company founded in 2012. In addition to Sidney Has No Horses, Prairie-Ice Productions is developing a documentary about working in deep-field camps in the most remote and isolated corners of Antarctica.
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