Older than America

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Older than America
Older than America Poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Georgina Lightning
Produced by
Written by Georgina Lightning
Music by George S. Clinton
Cinematography Shane Kelly
Edited by
Tribal Alliance Productions
Distributed by Tribal Alliance Productions
Release date
  • March 8, 2008 (2008-03-08) (South by Southwest Film Festival)
Running time
101 minutes
Country United States

Older than America is 2008 American suspense drama film directed by Georgina Lightning and starring Adam Beach, Wes Studi, Georgina Lightning and Bradley Cooper. The film explores and highlights the impact of the "culture-killing" effects of the typical Native American experience in boarding schools in the 1900s and other inter-social relationships between the Native American people and the dominant European-based American culture.



  • Adam Beach as John Goodfeather, Fond du Lac Reservation police officer and Rain's fiance
  • Georgina Lightning as Rain Many Lightnings O'Rourke, an elementary school teacher and John's fiance
  • Bradley Cooper as Luke Peterson, a U.S. government geologist investigating an earthquake that happened on Fond du Lac reservation
  • Tantoo Cardinal as Barbara "Auntie Apple" O'Rourke, Rain's aunt and Irene's sister
  • Stephen Yoakam as Father Bartoli
  • Dan Harrison as Walter Many Lightnings, Rain's uncle
  • Wes Studi as Richard Two Rivers, a reservation radio DJ
  • Glen Gould as Steve Klamath, a Native American mayoral candidate
  • Dennis Banks as Pete Goodfeather, John's father and tribal medicine man
  • Chris Mulkey as Paul Gunderson, the incumbent mayor running for re-election
  • Rose Berens as Irene Many Lightnings O'Rourke, Rain's mother and Apple's sister
  • Crystle Lightning as Diane, Rain's friend
  • Gloria Eshkibok as Mattie Moonshadow, a clerical worker at the local Indian Affairs office


The film was inspired by events from Lightning's life. Her father, who occasionally had violent outbursts, had been quite silent toward her about his childhood. When she was 18, he committed suicide. This event later launched her on an exploratory quest, attempting to find out more about her father's elusive childhood. In the course of her explorations of her father's past, she found herself visiting the Native American boarding school that her father had attended as a boy and noticing the oddly large cemetery behind the school, with the names of so many of its young students etched onto the silent headstones. From this very difficult experience, the concept for the film emerged. The film was shot primarily at the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation in Minnesota.

Filming took place in late 2006 on or around the Fond du Lac Reservation and Cloquet, Minnesota.[1][2]


UK DVD release cover
Older than America retitled as American Evil for UK DVD release

The official world premiere for Older than America took place at the 2008 SXSW Festival in the narrative feature competition.[3][4] The film screened at other festivals including the Women with Vision Festival in March 2008, Talking Stick Film Festival in June 2008[5] and Lake Arrowhead Film Festival in April 2009.[2][6]

The film had a VOD release through IFC Films on March 17, 2010.[7] The film was released in DVD format on October 12, 2010.[citation needed] The film will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc by Metrodome in the United Kingdom under the title American Evil on March 5, 2012, for which the cover art and starring credit highlights Bradley Cooper's role in the film. The film received mostly negative reviews in the UK after its DVD and Blu-ray Disc release. With most critics calling it cheaply made, and was only released in the UK due to the mass popularity of actor Bradley Cooper and his involvement in the film to boost sales.[8]


“There are two ways to conquer a nation: kill ‘em or take away everything that defines who they are.” Pete Goodfeather (Dennis Banks)

“Sounds like a holocaust.” Luke Peterson (Bradley Cooper)


The film won Best Director and Best Supporting Actor (for Wes Studi) awards at the American Indian Film Festival.[9] It was named Best Dramatic Feature at the 2008 Flyway Film Festival.[10] The film received the Aloha Accolade Award from the Honolulu International Film Festival on March 8. 2009.[6]


Compiled and produced by George S. Clinton


  1. ^ Northrup, Jim (2011). Anishinaabe Syndicated: A View from the Rez. Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Society. p. 20. 
  2. ^ a b Kerr, Euan (4 March 2008). ""Older than America" doesn't pull its punches - Georgina Lightning is OK with that". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  3. ^ Jones, Michael (4 February 2008). "SXSW announces lineup". Variety. Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  4. ^ Variety Staff (4 February 2008). "2008 SXSW lineup". Variety. Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  5. ^ Hamilton, Ava. "Talking Stick Film Festival Brings Indigenous Film to New Mexico June 21". New Mexico Film Office. Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "USA: Native Film Bringing Home 17th Award". GALDU: Resource Centre for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  7. ^ Shining Elk, Michelle R. (21 March 2010). "'Older than America,' Georgina Lightning receive nom for emerging artist award". Native American Times. Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  8. ^ "American Evil (aka Older Than America) on DVD and Blu-ray in March". Retrieved 3 February 2012. 
  9. ^ Wise, Wyndham. "Georgina Lightning". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  10. ^ "Older Than America". Twin Cities Daily Planet. Retrieved 2 February 2012. 

External links[edit]