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Directed bySterlin Harjo
Written bySterlin Harjo
StarringRod Rondeaux
Release date
  • June 12, 2015 (2015-06-12)
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States

Mekko is a 2015 American drama film directed by Sterlin Harjo.[1] Harjo's third feature film, it is a thriller set among a community of homeless Native Americans in Tulsa.


Mekko leaves prison, having served a long sentence for having killed his cousin in a brawl. He reflects on his family's knowing and the path that he strayed from, where he was considered a see'r by the old people. He is haunted by visions of his own death and his ultimate fight with an evil spirit witch that takes the form of warriors or animal spirits. He know he must confront it, but he fears his own weakness. Mekko meets an indian who says he is a warrior, but who actually preys on the weak, while demanding respect. Mekko looks into the man's heart and sees that it is the dwelling place of a witch who has killed many times. Inevitably, a confrontation arises. Mekko tries to avoid it, but he knows that the witch is hunting him.



On this production, Harjo was inspired by Werner Herzog's 1977 film Stroszek to aim for a heightened degree of naturalism, using many real locations and real people, rather than professional actors. He found many of his cast members among people he met at the Iron Gate soup kitchen in downtown Tulsa, and he also hired locals for nearly all of his crew, saying that he wanted his crew to be familiar with Tulsa and with Native Americans.[2][3]


Mekko premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June 2015.[4][5] It was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival;[6] the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, where it was named best feature film;[7] the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, where it was named best narrative feature;[8] and at the 2015 American Indian Film Festival, where it won the best film award as well as acting awards for stars Rod Rondeaux, Zahn McClarnon, and Sarah Podemski.[9]


Variety critic Dennis Harvey complimented Rod Rondeaux's "soulful performance" in the title role, and compared the film to two classic films set on skid row, On the Bowery (1956) and The Exiles (1961).[10]


  1. ^ "Watch the Intense Trailer for 'Mekko,' Sterlin Harjo's Latest Film". Indian Country Today. Retrieved August 28, 2015.
  2. ^ Lauren Wissot, "'Humor Is Always Butting Up Against Tragedy': Sterlin Harjo on Mekko", Filmmaker, September 13, 2015.
  3. ^ Richard Whittaker, "Method Directing: Director Sterlin Harjo hits the streets for Mekko", Austin Chronicle, April 29, 2016.
  4. ^ Rebecca Keegen, "LAFF 2015 aimed for diverse film fest lineup and dug deep to find it", Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2015.
  5. ^ Kevin O'Keefe, "A New Movie Tells the Gripping, Resonant Story of a Native American Homeless Community", Mic, June 23, 2015.
  6. ^ "Sandra Bullock's 'Our Brand Is Crisis,' Robert Redford's 'Truth' to Premiere at Toronto". Variety. Retrieved August 28, 2015.
  7. ^ "Mekko Wins at imagineNATIVE", Northern Stars, October 19, 2015.
  8. ^ "Santa Fe Film Festival announces awards", Albuquerque Journal, October 23, 2015.
  9. ^ 40th American Indian Film Festival Recipients and Award Show Telecast Archived January 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, December 3, 2015.
  10. ^ Dennis Harvey, "Toronto Film Review: 'Mekko', Variety, September 11, 2015.

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