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AWAKE, A Dream from Standing Rock

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a controversial project that brings fracked crude oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota through South Dakota, Iowa and eventually to Illinois. The Standing Rock Tribe and people all over the world oppose the project because the pipeline runs under the Missouri river, a source of drinking water for over 18 million people, and pipeline leaks are commonplace. Since 2010 over 3,300 oil spills and leaks have been reported.

Moving from summer 2016, when demonstrations over the Dakota Access Pipeline's demolishing of sacred Native burial grounds began, to the current and disheartening pipeline status, AWAKE, A Dream from Standing Rock is a powerful visual poem in three parts that uncovers complex hidden truths with simplicity. The film is a collaboration between indigenous filmmakers: Director Myron Dewey and Executive Producer Doug Good Feather; and environmental Oscar-nominated filmmakers Josh Fox and James Spione.

The Water Protectors at Standing Rock captured world attention through their peaceful resistance. The film documents the story of Native-led defiance that has forever changed the fight for clean water, our environment and the future of our planet. It asks: 'Are you ready to join the fight?'

'Our students ask: what are we to do? And for those of us who don't know what to say, Awake shows us what we must do, and how we must do it. And we must do it now! We are all at Standing Rock: if we do not act to protect Earth now, who will?' Ronnie D. Lipschutz, Professor of Politics and Provost of Rachel Carson College, University of California, Santa Cruz

'Very compelling. Awake makes essential connections between one local struggle, the health of the planet, and the real and symbolic violence of the Western industrial society. Emotionally touching as well as visually striking, this is an ideal introduction to the water protectors and their cause.' Dr. Anna J. Willow, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Ohio State University

'Fear stops many an incipient movement cold. Not Standing Rock. By taking the viewer inside the participants' marches, discussions, and confrontations, this cinematically stunning account brings us face-to-face with the activists' theme: 'We defeat fear every day.'' Charles DiSalvo, Professor of Law, West Virginia University, Author, M.K. Gandhi, Attorney at Law: The Man Before the Mahatma

'An essential watch...Provides an insider's view of what happened at the Standing Rock protests...Compelling videography and heart rendering voices explain the meaning and context of the Water Protector's actions. This film is easy to add to any classroom because it is segmented into 4 stand-alone parts. Highly recommended.' Dr. Janneli F. Miller, Visiting Professor, Anthropology and Environmental Studies, Fort Lewis College

'Witness these strong hearts fighting for our shared future, resisting violence and repression, and see what we are all capable of. Haunting and inspiring.' Will Potter, Author, Green Is the New Red: An Insider's Account of a Social Movement Under Siege

'A lesson in resistance for the rest of us...Evocative...Awake, a Dream From Standing Rock not only serves as a vital record of one of the biggest protest movements since Occupy Wall Street or Black Lives Matter, but its events are also fresh. That swift response, a wake-up call, in the form of a visual poem, is a testament to the filmmakers' artistry, and urgency.' Jude Dry, IndieWire

'Provides a powerful picture of the people who have made Standing Rock, North Dakota, one of the most-watched places on earth.' Jackie Strause, The Hollywood Reporter

'The best film that we've seen thus far about a crucially important moment in history. The film takes us inside this moment, showing viewers a truly unique perspective on this series of events that have completely changed the playing field for everyone involved in environmental conservation, social justice and indigenous rights.' Matthew Podolsky, Wild Lens

'Awake allows us to experience the pain of the Standing Rock people as the Dakota Pipeline is built in their midst. We see them fight a battle between 'greed, fear, money, violence, hate, and oil' and 'generosity, faith, freedom, peace and water.' We hear their anguished voices, we witness their helpless suffering, and we wonder what will become of their way of life.' John Copeland Nagle, Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame, Author, Law's Environment: How the Law Shapes the Places We Live

'Hard-hitting...intense...With soaring cinematography, Fox graphically depicts what's at stake.' Ed Rampell, The Progressive

'The film urges everyday people and journalists not just to get their cameras out and record, or their notebooks out and write, but to actually participate in the actions first.' Cecelia Barrow, Everyday Embellishments blog

'Awake is a timely introduction to how national movements can coalesce around the kinds of important stories we struggle to adequately share across any one spectrum of communication. The power of storytelling in this context inherently promotes the mobilization of knowledge to do work for not only those directly affected communities, but for anyone who demands that how we share information is more relevant and accountable.' Dr. Kojun 'Jun' Ueno Sunseri, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of California - Berkeley

'AWAKE is a lovely meditation on the importance of place, spirituality, and community for modern Native Americans. It is also a sobering reminder that dispossession and injustice at the hands of governments and private interests, so much a part of Native America's past, continue to this day. Future environmental activists will find it an inspiring example of peaceful organizing for resistance and change.' Dr. Brian Allen Drake, Environmental History, University of Georgia, Author, Loving Nature, Fearing the State


Main credits

Fox, Josh (film director)
Fox, Josh (screenwriter)
Fox, Josh (editor of moving image work)
Fox, Josh (cinematographer)
Spione, James (film director)
Spione, James (editor of moving image work)
Spione, James (cinematographer)
Dewey, Myron (film director)
Dewey, Myron (editor of moving image work)
Dewey, Myron (cinematographer)
Cadotte, Kyle (film producer)
Pugliese, Teena (film producer)
Schlosberg, Deia (film producer)
Good Feather, Doug (film producer)
Ptesan Hunka, Floris (screenwriter)
White Bull, Floris (screenwriter)

Other credits

Screenwriting, Josh Fox, Floris Ptesan Hunka, Floris White Bull; cinematography & editing, Josh Fox, James Spione, Myron Dewey.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

American Studies
Climate Change/Global Warming
Environmental Ethics
Environmental Justice
Global Issues
Human Rights
Indigenous Peoples
Native Americans


massive peaceful resistance, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Dakota Access Pipeline, DAPL, fracked crude oil, fracking, Bakken Shale, North Dakota, under Missouri River, pipeline leaks, demolishing native burial grounds, indigeous filmmakers, Myron Dewey, Doug Good Feather, Josh Fox, James Spione, water protectors, peaceful resistance, native-led defiance, fight for clean water, environment, future of planet, Floris White Bull, Mekasi Horineck, Oceti Sakowin Youth, Tara Houska, Malia Hulleman, Erin Schrode, Danny Grassrope, Suzi/Candy Girl, YahNe Ndgo, Peji Trudell, Sara Sidner, John Bigelow, Ladonna Allard, Jordan Chariton, Jasmine, DJ Dizzy, Kandi Mossett, Jan Hasselman, Amy Goodman, William Jerome, Chief Looking Horse, Dallas Goldtooth, Prolific Rapper, Cornel West; "AWAKE, A Dream from Standing Rock"; Bullfrog Films

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