TRUDELL (COMPLETED) follows the life work of Native American poet/activist John Trudell. Filmmaker Heather Rae has spent ten years chronicling the travels, spoken word and music of Trudell; using a poetic and cinema-verite style she traces his travels throughout Europe, Canada and the United States.
Bob Dylan referred to Trudell's spoken word/rock and roll album AKA Graffiti Man as the 'best album of 1995.' Northwest Native activist Janet McCloud referred to Trudell as "one of the greatest poets of all times." Kris Kristofferson referred to him as "a lone wolf." Not only a profound orator, he is a significant political figure in the more recent history of the Indian people's movement. This history includes being a leader in the 1969 occupation of Alcatraz Island. From 1973-1979 he served as the National Spokesman for the American Indian Movement. In 1979 his wife and children were killed by a suspicious arson fire on a Nevada reservation. At that point Trudell stepped back from organizational politics and began to write, transforming his pain into the spoken word. With the help of Kiowa rock guitarist Jesse Ed Davis and Jackson Browne, he began to put his words to music. His 'voice' continues as a profound oration of the People's movement. He voices universal concern for the people, Earth, women, children, truth and oppression. It is what he calls his rant .
Weaving archive footage dating back into the late 60's and early 70's with concert and interview footage--shot 16mm black and white--Trudell's worldview is experimentally interwoven with abstract, color imagery of his internal fables. Through his poetry and thought come stories relating to his dreams and spirit. Challenging traditional documentary form, this film will meld fable and fact, stylistically mirroring the coyote nature of Trudell himself.