Subjects: Physical and Mental Health, American Studies, Indigenous Studies
At 23 years old, Shaionna Grass Rope lost her best friend Cheryl Ziegler to suicide. Cheryl- her cousin by blood and sister by culture- was an aspiring boxer who battled depression and addiction. Though facing the same struggles, Shaionna creates a boxing team for the girls following in their footsteps, determined to end trends of youth suicide within the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe of South Dakota. The preteen squad faces the challenges of growing up on a reservation together with humor, sass and slushy-stained smiles.
Official Selection for 2019 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and 2019 Tribeca Film Festival
About the filmmaker
Jessie is a documentary filmmaker, cinematographer and photographer. In 2014 she began working as a Human Rights Storyteller for EarthRights International, collaborating with indigenous communities in the Mekong and Amazon regions to advocate for human and environmental rights. Her dedication to using video for advocacy and empowerment lead her to the School of Visual Arts’ Social Documentary Film program, where she received an MFA in May 2018. "The Boxers of Brule" is her directorial debut.