by Randy Vasquez and Jonathan Skurnik
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Walter Littlemoon, a 69 year old Lakota man born and raised in Wounded Knee, South Dakota, attended a federal Indian boarding school in South Dakota sixty years ago. The mission of many of these schools in 1950, was still to "kill the Indian and save the man."
Children attending federal Indian boarding schools were not allowed to be Indians — to speak their language or express their culture or native identity in any way at the risk of being severely beaten, humiliated or abused.
Many Indians, like Walter, lived with this unresolved trauma into adulthood, acting it out through alcoholism and domestic violence. At age 58, he decided to write and publish his memoirs as a way to explain his past abusive behaviors to his estranged children. But dealing with the memories of his boarding school days nearly put an end to it.
The Thick Dark Fog tells the story of how Walter confronted the "thick dark fog" of his past so that he could renew himself and his community.
Randy Vasquez grew up on the beaches of southern California and in the mountains of North Carolina. He has been an actor since 1983. His first documentary, made in 1996 was Concert of the South, which contrasted the original Zapatista movement during the Mexican Revolution with the current one in Chiapas. Testimony: The Maria Guardado Story (2001) was his first feature documentary that traces the journey of a Salvadoran political activist from being kidnapped and tortured by death squads in 1980 to her immigrating to the US in 1983. It won best documentary at the 2002 New York Latino Film Festival. Randy is a UCLA graduate with a BA in American Indian Studies.
Jonathan is an award-winning filmmaker whose documentaries have broadcast on Television in the US and Europe. His films have also been screened at more than one hundred film festivals and art galleries. He produces and shoots his own films, works as a documentary camera person for other award-winning producers, makes promotional web videos for progressive for-profit and non-profit companies and organizations, consults with other filmmakers on their proposals and distribution & outreach strategies, and teaches filmmaking master classes and at Chapman University and The New York Film Academy. Jonathan also writes and directs collaborative fiction films and makes video installations.