A movie filled with pride, competition, and culture. Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation shows all of those and so much more. We got to talk with Co-Director Peter Baxter about the film, his inspiration to make it what it came out to be, and what other numerous projects he has waiting for us. We also spoke with fellow co-director Peter Spirer. Check his interview out here.
KRISTIN: Before we get started, can you tell us how you got started in the entertainment industry?
PETER B: I produced a low budget feature called Loser and helped start Slamdance.
KRISTIN: Your new documentary Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation. How did you get involved in this project?
PETER B: A: Peter Spirer told me about this story and suggested he and I co-direct. When I met Chief Oren Lyons I wanted it to be my next project.
KRISTIN: What made you want to showcase this team and follow their journey?
PETER B: One reason is the way the Nationals play lacrosse. It’s out of this world. On another level lacrosse identifies this team as a sovereign nation of people who lost many battles but never been defeated. From seemingly an impossible situation and with a population of just 125,000 the Nationals are now competing for a world championship. I can’t think why wouldn’t you want to follow this journey.
KRISTIN: You co-directed with Peter Spirer. What was it like working with him and did you always see eye to eye on the vision for the film?
PETER B: We always did. We understood from the start our collaboration was always going to be about our subjects and their story and we never let anything get in the way of that. I enjoy our partnership.
KRISTIN: The 2015 World Box Lacrosse Championships were held for the first time on an Indian Reservation and this is what you were filming. How big of a deal was this for the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team?
PETER B: It was a massive occasion for the Haudenosaunee. Colonists still hold onto the belief that there is only one civilization; their own. However, it’s hard to see western civilization civilized at all when you look at everything it has done to indigenous people and how it is treating earth today. The Peacemaker once told the Iroquois ”to make decisions on behalf of the generations coming so they may enjoy the life we have today.” Isn’t this the essence of any civilization? On home soil they were able to share with the rest of the world their progressive culture and highlight the values of indigenous people.
KRISTIN: What do you hope people take away from this film?
PETER B: One of the things I’ve learned from making Spirt Game is how hopeless the USA is recognizing its imperfections and false history. It loves to tell you and then record how well its done but, as with the Doctrine of Discovery, can’t deal with how often its “success” is based on the misery and destruction of those around them. The Iroquois remind us, as incredible survivors, the extent that one civilization needs to truly recognize another in acknowledging historical truth and healing in order to progress. If we can’t do that we are lost. I hope people can take away this from Spirit Game. I hope the film can help support positive change for indigenous people and show a younger generation how vital knowledge around this subject is for everyone. I also hope people will write to the Pope and ask him to get rid of the Doctrine of Discovery.
KRISTIN: When and where is it available?
PETER B: On iTunes, Starz and in theaters.
KRISTIN: On top of this film, do you have any other projects you are working on that we should be on the lookout for?
PETER B: I’m producing a show for Slamdance called The Anarchy Show and making a documentary called The Whirl.
KRISTIN: Where can people keep up with your projects online?
PETER B: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Baxter_(filmmaker)
Make sure to follow Peter Baxter online and make sure to check out Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation in theaters on May 26th and VOD and iTunes on June 20th.