More than a short film, more than a director
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
“Rude Girl” to film in New Mexico with Native American woman as superhero
By Christina Stock
The short film “Rude Girl” is shot in Albuquerque in October. The story of the film is as old as time itself: good versus evil, the never-ending battle. However, in “Rude Girl” this battle is told in a unique and different way.
Its director and screenwriter Joshua Zunie (“Bad Boys for Life”, “The Kid”, “Better Call Saul”, “From Dusk Till Dawn” and “Independence Day: Resurgence”) was born and raised in Zuni, surrounded by traditions. in art and culture that dates back thousands of years. It represents the new generation of Native Americans and their movement to bring authentic stories and culture to the previously one-dimensional film genre featuring Native American stereotypes.
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In a phone interview, Zunie spoke about her background, her style and her plans for her film.
“I wanted to part with what has already been done,” he said. “We’ve seen it all, since they started a long time ago. We have seen the genres; we’ve seen how Native Americans are portrayed in Hollywood movies and in our own Native movie films. Me, I wanted to go the opposite of my directing style, but stay true to me as a person. I like the action. I like the drama, the cool special effects. It’s for me as a director. As a writer, I like candid stories. In “Rude Girl,” the character is born and raised into nothingness and thrown into a situation where he becomes something in the end. With that storyline, with triumph, courage, and hope, coming from nothing and building this character up to (a) superhero, he crosses the gamut as a storyteller and that’s what I wanted to achieve.
When asked how he became a writer and director, Zunie replied, “That’s a really good question. I could go on for days. I was born and raised in Zuni, New Mexico. This tribe is known for its tales. It’s in the blood. My ancestors did it, generation after generation. I want to go from there and tell stories my way.
“So literally it all started from there. I went to Chapman University for a film school in Orange County, California. It was in 2006. Around 2008, after I graduated, I started in the industry – the most difficult year because the financial crisis happened. I was looking for a job and finally got one, as an NBC page assistant, ”Zunie said.
Zunie said the NBCUniversal Page program is well known on the east and west coasts. It is a rotational learning and development program that encourages talent in the media industry. After Zunie graduated from the program, he said he got his first job as an office production assistant for the “Law and Order, Los Angeles” television series.
“From there I started to move up through the ranks, but really, I stayed writing every day, every year, honing my writing skills, not telling anyone that I write, but to strengthen my writing skills. confidence in myself. I did this for a year until I found this cool story idea, “Rude Girl,” he said.
Zunie doesn’t want to give the story too much. In the press release it says: “‘Rude Girl’, with Shawnee Pourier (‘Seeds’), David Midthunder (‘West World’ ‘Woman Walks Ahead’, ‘Hostiles’, ‘Longmire’), Joshua Horton ( ‘Army of the Dead “,” Better Call Saul “,” Day Break “), Zachary Wade and Jayde Martinez (” Flamin’ Hot “,” Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar “), is the story of a half-native A half-white American teenage girl struggling with identity issues who visits her grandfather Lee in the spirit world, only to realize that she is a superhero.
A Native American superheroine is a unique concept. When asked who inspired him to go in this direction, Zunie said, “Back home, I was raised by my aunts and my grandmother on my mother’s side. A lot of women raised me, and I felt it was a very good childhood education because they cared about me. They have always been there for me. Traditionally, in the Native American community, many grandparents and many children these days are raised by grandparents for some reason. So I was one of those kids at the time.
Zunie said her ideas and experiences in the media industry inspired her project.
“There is a lack of diversity between the key roles as producer, screenwriter, director, actors. And, more importantly, there is a lack of gender equality going on, ”he said.
Zunie said he is following developments and movements, including the recent wave of superhero movies.
“They have different stories, but they’re pretty much the same when it comes to the cast and visual effects details. Where do I go with all this information given to me? Where do I put my stake in the ground and let it be known that these are the stories I want to do as a director, screenwriter, producer, ”Zunie said.
He gave the head to Pourier, who is Lakota and Native American. “I felt it was the right time and certainly a very powerful message to send at the right time. And that’s when I came up with this general concept. I have to put a female lead, a Native American, in that kind of genre, (the) kind of superhero. The social premise is to rename and evoke a heroic image of a current Native American. And that’s all I wanted to do, ”Zunie said.
Post-production is scheduled for November, ending no later than early January, so that the film is ready to air at various film festivals. Zunie said he plans to send it to the Roswell SciFi Film Fest as well.
To follow when and where the film will be available, Zunie said to follow it or follow the individual actors on Instagram.
Zunie said, “We also want to give viewers, moviegoers a chance to experience the whole story in theaters around the world at film festivals, and ultimately it will become a feature film so that the world whole can see it.
“I want to salute the Native American community in Indian country, don’t give up hope and dream big for all of your golden appearances,” Zunie said.
Other producers include John Ward (“Messiah”, “Bluff City Law”, “Monsters of God”, “Jane Got a Gun” and “The Condemned 2”), Jhane Myers (“Skulls-Predator 5”, “The Wilds , “” Monsters of God “,” Wind River, “The Magnificent Seven” and “Apocalypto”), BA Carter, Marisa Page and Kelsey Landon (“Ember,” Debt Men “,” Dying Breed “and” Crystal Pines “) .
The New Mexico Film Office and the Sen. John Pinto Native Filmmakers Fund supported the making of the film. According to the New Mexico Film Office, the production will employ approximately 40 crew members from New Mexico, including the main cast, as well as extras from New Mexico.