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 Spirer about the film, his inspiration to make it what it came out to be, and what other numerous projects he has waiting for us.
KRISTIN: Before we get started, can you tell us how you got started in the entertainment industry?
PETER S: While I was attending film school at the University of Miami, I directed and produced a music video for my band ZToyz that won the semifinals of the MTV basement tapes. I later worked for MTV doing promos and interstitials; I also produced segments for MTV’s House of Style. My first documentary, Blood Ties: The Life and Work of Sally Mann, was nominated for an Academy Award. My 2nd film, Rhyme and Reason was acquired by Miramax and released theatrically. I went on to direct and produce many docs with Quincy Jones and his son for QD3 Entertainment as well as for my own company Rugged Entertainment..
KRISTIN: Your new documentary Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation. How did you get involved in this project?
PETER S: I directed a film that was at Sundance in 2000 titled “The Walk.” It told the story of Native people walking 750 miles to create awareness of California native sovereignty issues. I met many people including Gayle Ann Kelley our executive producer. While we researched another project together, our writer for that project, Scott Sturgeon stumbled upon this great story of the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team.
KRISTIN: What made you want to showcase this team and follow their journey?
PETER S: Lacrosse is a big part of who the Iroquois people are. Lacrosse is a part of their creation story. Chief Oren Lyons had the vision to use their national team as ambassadors to other nations compelling these nations to grapple with Iroquois sovereignty. When the Iroquois Nationals team travels to these countries with their own Iroquois passports, the countries the Iroquois are traveling into have to take notice.
KRISTIN: You codirected with Peter Baxter. What was it like working with him and did you always see eye to eye on the vision for the film?
PETER S: Peter Baxter and I made excellent partners. I enjoyed our working relationship immensely. We also had different skill sets. Where I might have a better understanding of the technology, and how to best use our film resources, Peter Baxter had a grasp of our themes, and narrative structure. This was a complex film which was made easier by having someone whom I admired greatly, and could help with the heavy lifting of editorial, offer ideas and solution to problems. We were committed to making the best film possible. We always put the story and the film above ourselves.
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 S.: The 2015 World Box Lacrosse Championships was the culmination of tremendous effort going back nearly 40 years. Having the game that was created by the Iroquois played on their homeland, was of extreme importance to the Iroquois. Hosting the games for the first time allowed them to show the world the beauty of their culture. They impressed the guest nations by proving that they could put together a highlevel Olympic stylesporting event.
KRISTIN: What do you hope people take away from this film?
PETER S: Most importantly, I hope people realize that Iroquois are a sovereign people with their own nation that command our respect and our attention for causes that are dear to their heart. They have much to teach us. This may be the first introduction that audiences have to the Doctrine of Discovery, something not taught in U.S. history books but perhaps the most important and destructive document created against mankind.
KRISTIN: On top of this film, do you have any other projects you are working on that we should be on the lookout for?
Summer 2017 release:
Feel Rich/ Director
A film about the health crises in Hip Hop and urban communities and what positive actions are taking place.
Film features: Common, The Game, Quincy Jones, Fat Joe, Paul Wall, etc…
Who The F*k Is That Guy: The Fabulous Journey of Michael Alago/ Executive Producer
Film is about gay music A&R rep Michael Alago and is illustrious career. Film Features: Metallica, Rob Zombie, Cyndi Lauper
The Legend of 420/Director and Producer
Documentary film about the legalization of Cannabis
Film features: Tommy Chong, Melissa Etheridge, Jason Mraz, Michael Des Barres
Haunting on the Hill/Executive Producer
Film about the most haunted place in America and the folks who perform shows there during the Halloween season
Chasing Shadows/Executive Producer
Documentary about a homeless Vietnam veteran who is tragically killed. He leaves a web of intrigue about who he really was and the attempts to uncover past secrets.
KRISTIN: Where can people keep up with your projects online?
PETER S: They can go to my IMDB page. My website is currently under reconstruction.
Make sure to check out Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation in theaters May 26th and on VOD and iTunes June 20th. Also make sure to stay tuned for more projects from Peter Spirer in the future.