2020 has been a year of change and adjustments. The same goes for the film industry and it also rings true for a local project. “Rosa and Black Gold,” featuring Native American talent and crew, was expected to begin filming in March 2020 at the same time many stay-at-home orders went into place due to COVID-19. 

The upcoming film is based on a true story about a strong, traditional Osage Nation woman dealing with racism, gender discrimination, changing technology, and doing business in the dominant society on her way to the Kentucky Derby.

Behind the scenes of filming the trailer for “Rosa and Black Gold” in 2019

Although their plans for filming were interrupted due to the pandemic, producers Russ Tallchief (Osage Nation) and Joe Johnston kept their heads up and took a unique approach to continue with the project. They used the slower times to work with a racing advisor, since the main character works with horses, researched more into the heroine’s story and fine-tuned the screenplay. 

The producers also deemed the slower time provided a perfect opportunity to have a first table read of the script with a live cast to see if the actors fit the roles and determine any adjustments. They assembled a cast of 21 people and had a virtual script reading, which was a fun and new experience for most involved. “It was a great experience, a first for almost all of us. The reading brought us a lot of new friends,” said Joe Johnston, producer. 

The production recognizes the importance of authenticity of Indigenous voices and storytelling and showed that during the script read. All Indigenous roles were read by Indigenous people, which they plan on continuing during filming as well. The cast included Vicki Lynn Mooney (Cherokee Nation), Jodie Revard (Osage Nation), Angela Startz (Inupiaq), Elise Bear (Osage Nation and Iowa Tribe), Wulf James (Chickasaw Nation), Tim Tallchief (Osage Nation) and Lea Ferguson McCormick (Mvskoke). CNFO loves to see Natives working in the industry!

As they’ve worked through the challenges of 2020, they’re now back to funding the movie and have a

Production still from the trailer for “Rosa and Black Gold”

crowdfunding site to help with operating expenses. They plan on shooting at Remington Park, some of the original historic sites in Osage County, Tulsa, and other locations in the Cherokee Nation in summer 2021.

With Natives on every level of this film, we’re excited to see where this project goes! 

CNFO hopes that their pivot can help to inspire others to keep moving forward on their projects during these difficult times. You can visit their website to learn more about the upcoming film project and watch the trailer: https://www.rosaandblackgoldmovie.com/.

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