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Shoni Schimmel Takes Manhattan

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Off the Rez, the documentary about Louisville basketball player Shoni Schimmel, Umatilla, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 26th; both the film and its subject have been commanding a lot of attention in the big city. The morning of the premiere, Shoni appeared on Live With Regis & Kelly to chat about the film. Kelly Ripa and her husband Mark Consuelos are two of Off the Rez's executive producers. Tuesday evening, Shoni, her mother Cecilee Moses, and her sister Jude Schimmel—who is also a high school basketball star, and who has committed to join Shoni on the team at the University of Louisville next year—hit the red carpet for the big premiere. Following the screening, Shoni presented Ripa and director Jonathan Hock with Pendleton blankets; the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation is in Pendleton, Oregon. Ripa proceeded to wear her blanket during the panel discussion that followed, in which Hock, Consuelos, Ripa, Moses, Shoni Schimmel, Eileen O'Neill (of Discovery and TLC Networks) and journalist Buzz Bissinger talked about the making of the film and fielded questions from the audience. Basketball website hailed Off the Rez as "Hoop Dreams meets Glory Road," and described Shoni as "larger than the game she loves; a symbol for her teammates, her family and Native Americans all over. A modern-day Jackie Robinson." Off the Rez will have its TV premiere May 14 on TLC.

Photos by Tara Polen from, used with permission.

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