Four Sheets to the Wind
|Four Sheets to the Wind|
|Directed by||Sterlin Harjo|
|Produced by||Chad Burris
|Written by||Sterlin Harjo|
|Music by||Jeffery Johnson|
|Edited by||David Michael Maurer|
|Distributed by||First Look Studios (U.S.)|
Four Sheets to the Wind is a 2007 independent drama film written and directed by Sterlin Harjo. It was Harjo's first feature film, and won several awards at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and American Indian Film Festival.
The film tells the story of Cufe, a young Seminole/Creek man who travels from his small Oklahoma home town to Tulsa to visit his sister, Miri, after the suicide and funeral of their father. While Miri struggles with her life in the city, Cufe becomes friendly, and then romantically involved, with Miri's neighbor, Francie, and he begins to perceive that his life has more possibilities than he had realized.
The script was developed with the support of the Sundance Institute, and was filmed in Holdenville, Oklahoma (Harjo's hometown) and in Tulsa. Harjo has commented that one of his purposes in writing the script was to react against expectations and stereotypes, for example by depicting Cufe "drinking a beer" while not making alcoholism a central issue, and showing him becoming involved with Francie without making the movie into "an issue-driven interracial relationship story".
The film premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, where it was nominated for the grand jury prize. The film's co-star Tamara Podemski won a Sundance special jury prize for her performance as Miri, and she was later nominated for best supporting actress at the 2007 Independent Spirit Awards. At the 2007 American Indian Film Festival, Harjo was named best director, and Cody Lightning was named best actor for his performance as Cufe.
The film received largely positive reviews from critics. Hollywood Reporter/Associated Press reviewer Duane Byrge noted that it was a "captivating crowd-pleaser" at Sundance, praised the actors, and described it as "a personal story that transcends any specific heritage or geographic setting". Variety's Dennis Harvey commented that the film is "so low-key it risks making little impression", but ultimately wins "viewer sympathy and affection". Zack Haddad of Film Threat compared the film to Garden State and complimented its "wonderfuly oddball comedy" as well as its "heart-felt" message.
- Cody Lightning – Cufe Smallhill
- Tamara Podemski – Miri Smallhill
- Laura Bailey – Francie
- Jeri Arredondo – Cora Smallhill
- Jon Proudstar – Jim
- Mike Randleman – Sonny
- Richard Ray Whitman – Frankie Smallhill
Awards and nominations
|2007||American Indian Film Festival||Sterlin Harjo||Best Film||Nominated|
|Sterlin Harjo||Best Director||Won|
|Cody Lightning||Best Actor||Won|
|Tamara Podemski||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Jeri Arredondo||Best Supporting Actress||Nominated|
|Sundance Film Festival||Sterlin Harjo||Grand Jury Prize - Dramatic||Nominated|
|Tamara Podemski||Special Jury Prize - Dramatic||Won|
|2008||Independent Spirit Awards||Tamara Podemski||Best Supporting Female||Nominated|
- John Anderson, "This Time, the Indians Tell Their Own Story", The New York Times, August 27, 2006.
- Andrew Horton, Joanna E. Rapf, eds., A Companion to Film Comedy (John Wiley & Sons, 2012), ISBN 978-1118327845, pp. 386ff. Excerpts available at Google Books.
- "Camera Q&A: Sterlin Harjo on filming in Oklahoma", Camera in the Sun, November 26, 2010.
- Joshua Klein, "Sterlin Harjo and the Real Indian", This Land Press, June 3, 2010.
- Jeff Vice, "Sundance fest winners explore 'our global society'", Deseret News, January 28, 2007.
- Sterlin Harjo, National Museum of the American Indian, March 2011 (updated April 2014).
- Duane Byrge, "Four Sheets to the Wind" (review), The Hollywood Reporter, January 24, 2007.
- Dennis Harvey, "Review: 'Four Sheets To The Wind'", Variety, January 30, 2007.
- Zack Haddad, "Four Sheets to the Wind" (review), Film Threat, January 24, 2007.