'Pearl' wins 'Best of Show' at Indie Fest

The Chickasaw Nation has won a prestigious "Best of Show" award from The Indie Fest for the feature film "Pearl."

This true story of a Chickasaw girl from Oklahoma who became the youngest licensed pilot in the U.S. in 1928 is the first feature film produced by the Chickasaw Nation. Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said the story of the Chickasaw aviatrix was a natural for the tribe's first feature-length film project.

"We made this film because it is important for people to understand the importance of Pearl's story," said Gov. Anoatubby. "Her story is about the importance of family and community as much as it is about her being the youngest pilot in the U.S."

"Pearl set an example in many ways. She was a dynamic individual who cared deeply about her service and responsibility to others."

In winning an Indie, the Chickasaw Nation joins the ranks of other high-profile winners of this internationally respected award.

Thomas Baker, Ph.D., who chairs the Indie Fest, said "The Indie is not an easy award to win. Entries are received from around the world. The Indie helps set the standard for craft and creativity. The judges were pleased with the exceptionally high quality of the entries. The goal of The Indie is to help winners receive the recognition they deserve."

"Pearl" focuses on the tumultuous teen years of the late Pearl Carter Scott, who was befriended by famous aviator Wiley Post in the late 1920s, and was performing as a barnstormer and commercial pilot by age 14.

First screened for at AFI International Film Festival in Dallas March 28 of this year, audience response has been "extremely positive," 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."

"Pearl" will be screened at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10 at the International Cherokee Film Festival at the Cherokee Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Tulsa.

It will be screened Oct 17, 18, 21 and 24 at the Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana.