"Pearl", the true story of a young Chickasaw aviator, recently inspired' entertained and educated several Ada Public School students.
More than 125 students from Willard Grade Center and Ada Jr. High spent part of Monday, Dec. 6, viewing the film "Pearl" at the McSwain Theatre.
Produced by the Chickasaw Nation, this family-friendly film focuses on the exceptional teen years of the late Pearl Carter Scott, a Chickasaw girl who earned her license at age 13 in 1928 and was performing as a barnstormer and commercial pilot by age 14; the age of many in the audience.
Students said they learned the value of positive determination through Pearl's story.
"I learned you can do anything you set your mind to if you never give up," said fifth grader Daniel Bratcher.
"It is one of the best movies I have ever seen," said Daniel's classmate, John Simpson.
Besides an inspirational message, the film also offers a lesson in 1930s Oklahoma life. The movie tells of the dust bowl, the depression, discrimination and other Oklahoma stories.
The movie was filmed at various locations in Oklahoma.
"I learned parts of Oklahoma used to be called Indian Territory and they used to have air shows. It was pretty great," said fifth-grader Jared Sampson.
"Pearl's story gives us an opportunity to hear an untold story of heroism, determination and accomplishment and shows young people they can be anything they want to be if they follow their dreams," said Junior High language arts teacher June Hughes.
"Pearl," the first film produced by the Chickasaw Nation, is now available for purchase on DVD and Blu Ray.
Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said the story of the Chickasaw aviatrix was a natural for the tribe's first feature-length film project.
"Pearl was a dynamic, determined and caring individual who exemplified many of the finest qualities of Chickasaw people," said Gov. Anoatubby. "This film is an important part of our efforts to preserve Chickasaw history for future generations. It will help preserve Pearl's legacy by enabling people to relive some of the significant moments in her life - moments which define what made her truly great."
Besides the Ada students, the film has garnered many accolades from audiences and film industry insiders.
"Pearl" was named the best overall film and best Native American film at the 2010 Trail Dance Film Festival. The film was also named a "Heartland Film Festival" official selection.
"Pearl" is one of only 13 feature films chosen for the distinction out of more than 600 submissions to Heartland, which is well known as one of the largest family-oriented film festivals in the world.
"Pearl" also won a prestigious "Best of Show" award from "The Indie Fest," and swept the feature docudrama category at the "International Cherokee Film Festival."
The Dove Foundation awarded "Pearl" four "Doves," giving the film its "Family-Approved Seal" for all ages.
The film was also showcased at the 9th Annual deadCENTER Film Festival and the American Film Institute (AFI) International Film Festival.
Screenings across the U.S. have brought "extremely positive" audience response, said producer Dave Rennke.
"We hope this film will help people understand the spirit that pervades the Chickasaw Nation," said Rennke. "The motto of the tribe is unconquered and unconquerable and Pearl really personifies that.
"It is very satisfying to see how people relate to the issues in this film. It contains a universal message about the importance of family and community and the importance of pursuing your dreams."
Dozens of Chickasaw citizens, Chickasaw Nation employees and community members were featured as extras in the film.
To order a copy of "Pearl" on DVD or Blu Ray, visit www.PearlTheMovie.net and click on the "Purchase Pearl DVD" button.