Reel Stories

By Jennifer Levin

Chris Eyre’s first movie Smoke Signals became the darling of the independent film world in 1998. Its massive critical acclaim made Eyre think Hollywood was about to throw open its doors to Native American filmmakers. But an Indigenous breakthrough into the mainstream film world would take another 24 years. Now, with the emergence of popular, award-winning shows like Reservation Dogs on FX and Rutherford Falls on Peacock, “Natives are writing more and more, so we are finally controlling the content of the material,” said Eyre, who is Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho. “Years ago I said that self-representation of Native Americans in film may be one of the last cinematic frontiers left. I was wrong, in that the revolution has finally come but not through cinema — through television and streaming.”

Eyre directed Dark Winds, the serial adaptation of Tony Hillerman’s popular Navajo mystery novels, which premiered on AMC on June 12, with powerhouse producers behind it: Robert Redford and George R.R. Martin. It was shot largely in Tesuque, on the outskirts of Santa Fe, at the pueblo’s new Camel Rock Studios. Set in the 1970s, Dark Winds stars Zahn McClarnon as Detective Joe Leaphorn, Kiowa Gordon as Detective Jim Chee and






Santa Fe New Mexican