Filmmakers Jack Riccobono & Chris Eyre on 'The Seventh Fire'
Director Jack Riccobono and producer Chris Eyre's documentary The Seventh Fire takes an unflinching look at gang life on the White Earth Indian Reservation in Minnesota. Their journey to get the film made had several unexpected twists and turns, including a boost from Natalie Portman and Terrence Malick.
Filmmaker Jack Riccobono was an obvious outsider when he started filming gang life on the White Earth Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota. He got access thanks to Rob Brown, one of the film's subjects and the veteran of numerous incarcerations. Riccobono and producer and Native American filmmaker Chris Eyre talk about the making of their documentary, The Seventh Fire, and the challenge of getting their film into the marketplace, even with backers including Natalie Portman, Terrence Malick and former Sumner Redstone girlfriend Sydney Holland.
Photo: (L-R) Producers Chris Eyre and Natalie Portman with director Jack Riccobono at the Berlin Film Festival (Jack Riccobono)
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The documentary The Seventh Fire provides an unflinching look at rampant poverty and drug use in Pine Point, Minnesota, a hardscrabble village within the White Earth Indian Reservation.
The film focuses largely on charismatic gang leader Rob Brown, who has spent more than half his life in prison and is headed for incarceration once again as the film is underway. As Brown ponders how to get his life on track for the sake of his children, Pine Point teenager Kevin Fineday finds himself at a crossroads, considering his future.
Director Jack Riccobono and Chris Eyre, one of the producers on The Seventh Fire, and director of the 1998 movie Smoke Signals, recounts how their subject Rob Brown helped them gain access and trust within the Pine Point community, and about their struggles to fund and distribute the film.
Their quest for backers and collaborators led the filmmakers to a unique assortment of people -- from Sumner Redstone's former girlfriend, Sydney Holland, to Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman and legendary director Terrence Malick.
The Seventh Fire premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, had a theatrical release over the summer, and is now streaming on iTunes and Amazon. It also received a special screening at the White House. Upcoming screenings, many of them with Riccobono and Eyre in attendance, can be found on the film's website