The Monument of Chief Rolling Mountain Thunder

(folkstreamsAt age 71, Chief Thunder lives in the Nevada desert with his young wife and small children in The Monument, a concrete and stone house he built and decorated with powerful forms and arches. His overwhelming sculptures, “spirits of the living,” portray Indian heroes, family, and friends. He created the monument when a voice spoke in a dream, “You are the Big Eagle and the Big Eagle shall return to his nest.” His artistry is the testament of a great American folk artist.The film captures the tragedy of his life, his painful isolation, the beauty of his work, and his creative process. Its highlight is a remarkable sequence in which Chief Thunder sculpts a complete piece on camera. Chief Rolling Mountain Thunder was honored as “The Artist of the Year” by the state of Nevada in 1983.

Film by Allie Light, Irving Saraf
Produced by Allie Light and Irving Saraf
Cinematographer: Philip Greene, Irving Saraf, Robert Shoup, John Winet
Sound: Sound Recordists: Ann Evans, Sara Chin. Sound Mix: Mark Berger
Editing: Allie Light and Irving Saraf
Copyright: Copyright 1983 Allie Light and Irving Saraf
28 minutes, Color
Original format: 16mm, 1983

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