Characters & Filmmakers

Sunny Clifford

About the Characters:

Sunny Clifford (Oglala Lakota) is the film’s main character and has gained recognition due to her growing activism over the past 7 years. She has attended Media Training with Progressive Women’s Voices at the Women’s Media Center in New York City, and won a Ms. Foundation “Gloria Award,” given to honor a leader whose commitment and achievements in the areas of social justice, reproductive freedom, and women’s leadership move our society closer to an inclusive and equitable democracy. Follow Sunny on Twitter @SunnyClifford.

Cecelia Fire Thunder


Cecilia Fire Thunder (Oglala Lakota) served as the first female Tribal President on the Pine Ridge Reservation and plays a pivotal role in the film. Cecilia is a former licensed nurse and continues to be a fierce advocate for women’s health—she has presented at over 50 national conferences. She currently teaches Lakota language at Oglala Lakota College.


About the Filmmakers:


Heather Rae

Heather Rae, Executive Producer: Heather Rae, a Cherokee filmmaker, has worked as a producer and executive for more than twenty years.  She was recently named one of Variety’s “Ten Producers To Watch.”  She produced Frozen River, which was nominated for two Academy Awards, won two Gotham Awards and was nominated for seven Spirit Awards.  She produced Ibid, which premiered at South By Southwest and Munich International, The Dry LandTrudell which premièred at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, and won numerous awards including a Special Jury Prize from the Seattle Film Festival. Rae produced and directed First Circle, a documentary about the foster care system, which premiered at the 2010 Woodstock International Film Festival and was acquired by Showtime Networks. For six years Rae ran the Native Program at the Sundance Institute and was a programmer for the Sundance Film Festival. She now sits on the Board of Trustees.

Marion & Rose

Producer/Directors: Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt, partners in Incite Pictures and Cine Qua Non (a not for profit), produce and direct feature documentaries that entertain, educate and explore critical contemporary issues.

Young Lakota is the latest in a series of films that use the dramatic stories of individual women to explore the fraught terrain of reproductive justice. The Education of Shelby Knox, their prior project, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005, and opened that year’s POV series. The POV series also showcased Live Free or Die in 2000 as a November election special.

Their company, Incite Pictures/Cine Qua Non, has received funding from the NEH, various State Arts and Humanities Councils, and nearly every major foundation supporting media, including the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Packard Foundation, as well as dozens of smaller organizations.

Gary Griffin

Director of Photography: Gary Griffin is a Filmmaker in Residence of Film and Media Arts at American University’s School of Communications in Washington, DC. He is an award-winning producer and cinematographer who has shot scores of documentaries, including Educating Peter (Academy Award), Autism is a World (Academy Award nominee), The Education of Shelby Knox (Sundance American Excellence in Cinematography Award), Shut Up and Sing (Toronto Film Festival) and Punk in Africa (New York Film Festival, 2012). He is currently directing a narrative feature called Listopad, based on his first-hand experiences as a director/cameraman during the ‘Velvet Revolution’ in 1989. Griffin holds an MFA from Prague’s FAMU Film Academy of Performing Arts.


Young Lakota Credits:

Producers/Directors:  Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt    Executive Producer: Heather Rae   Writer: Marion Lipschutz   Director of Photography: Gary Keith Griffin   Sound: Susan Bryant   Editors: Rose Rosenblatt, Jeremy Stulberg, Diego Siranga   Composer: Garth Stevenson   Featuring: Sunny Clifford, Serena Clifford, Brandon Ferguson, Cecelia Fire Thunder and Alex White Plume.

This program was made possible by funding from The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Additional funding by:

The Brush Foundation   Chicken & Egg Pictures   The Compton Foundation   The Educational Foundation of America   The Ford Foundation   The Mary Wohlford Foundation   New York State Council for the Arts   The Sundance Documentary Fund  The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation