Haskell Student Honored at Film Festival

Feb 15th, 2003 | By | Category: 14-3: Your Heroes Are Not Our Heroes, Tribal College News
By Amanda jo Wauneka

Thomas Yeahpau is a poet and filmmaker. His poem, “How it Feels to be an Indian Man,” appeared in TCJ, Vol. 14, N.1. Photo by Amanda jo Wauneka

A movie by a Haskell Indian Nations University student was screened at the 27th annual American Indian Film Festival. “It’s an honor,” said Thomas Yeahpau, 27, “but I think I’m a workaholic because I didn’t want to celebrate. I just wanted to keep on working.”

His movie, “Hate Equals Hate,” was shown Nov. 13 at the film festival in San Francisco. The event concluded the next night with a screening of “The Fast Runner (Atanarjuat)” by director Zacharias Kunuk. The nearly 60 films shown at this year’s festival included Chris Eyre’s “Skins” and “Skinwalkers,” Sherman Alexie’s “The Business of Fancydancing” and John Woo’s “Windtalkers.”

“Hate Equals Hate,” Yeahpau’s 18-minute movie, portrays the extremes that a handful of Native American males go to in order to express their hatred toward Columbus Day. “I did it in a most extreme way,” Yeahpau (Kiowa) said about the violent nature of his film. “You would have to be really ignorant to believe it.”

Surprisingly, he said, the film was born one bland afternoon when he and his friends were bored and started tossing around ideas for making a movie. “No one was really an actor or actress, but they were motivated,” Yeahpau said about his impromptu cast.

Yeahpau admits the first few of his flicks have been violent, but he has decided to dabble in comedy. “I trust my humor enough to go further with it,” he said.

Amanda jo Wauneka, Navajo, attends Haskell. She is a 2001 graduate of The Freedom Forum’s American Indian Journalism Institute and editor of the Haskell school newspaper, the Indian Leader. Article and photo courtesy of Reznet, <www.reznetnews.org>.

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