“Nanyehi” short film to make public debut at local film festival

April 20, 2018

Young Nanyehi receives turkey feather cape honoring her as a tribal leader. (Left to Right) Dragging canoe, played by Travis Fite; Chief Oconasota, played by Michael Stopp; and Chief Attakullakulla, played by Ken Foster. Young Nanyehi receives turkey feather cape honoring her as a tribal leader. (Left to Right) Dragging canoe, played by Travis Fite; Chief Oconasota, played by Michael Stopp; and Chief Attakullakulla, played by Ken Foster.

Local cast shares compelling story of legendary Cherokee Nancy Ward

MUSKOGEE, Okla. – The story of Nancy Ward, legendary Cherokee warrior turned peacemaker, has made its way to the big screen in the short film “Nanyehi.”

The film depicts the struggle between peace and war and the fight to preserve tribal land in the 18th century.

“Sharing the story of Nanyehi has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career and my life,” said Becky Hobbs, “Nanyehi” co-writer. “There is so much we can learn from her story that we need in today’s world. Her message of peace is one that inspires change and one that I hope will make the world a better place.”

“Nanyehi” features Cherokee Nation citizen Winnie Guess Purdue in the title role, supported by a local cast of 44 from northeast Oklahoma, the vast majority being Cherokee Nation citizens.

“The film incorporated the families of our cast and created a truly magical environment watching them share the story not only of Nanyehi, but of their own ancestors as well,” said David Webb, co-producer for the “Nanyehi” film. “This cast does an amazing job presenting a compelling story in a way that is both educational and engaging for audiences of all ages.”

The production has been recognized as a finalist in the Short Family Films category at the upcoming Bare Bones Film Festival in Muskogee. Screenings will be held at the Roxy Theater located at 220 W. Okmulgee Ave on Friday, April 27, at 6 p.m. and Saturday, April 28, at 5:30 p.m.

The festival’s awards ceremony will immediately follow the screening on Saturday night.

The film was co-written by Cherokee Nation citizen Becky Hobbs, who is an award-winning songwriter and recording artist, as well as a direct descendant of Nancy Ward. Additional co-writers include Holly Rice and Nick Sweet. The film is scored by Duane Sciacqua and is produced by Nanyehi Films LLC in conjunction with Holly Rice Films.

The Nanyehi musical will return to The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa the following weekend, May 4-5. Tickets are $15 with a $5 discount offered to Cherokee Nation citizens and children 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at 918-384-ROCK.