Vincent Schilling
Indian Country Today

A breathtaking and heartfelt new documentary highlighting a four-year battle of Native women-led water protectors in the #NoDAPL movement has recently secured a spot on Fuse TV.

“End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock” premiered on Fuse TV — a video-on-demand streaming platform that focuses on empowering and cultural-based content — on June 25, a date marking the 145th anniversary of the Battle of Bighorn.

The documentary is part of the Peabody and Emmy award-winning Fuse Docs franchise, and was directed and produced by Shannon Kring and co-produced by Pearl Daniel Means.

The documentary also features some of the internationally recognized drone footage from Native journalist Myron Dewey.

An overhead drone shot of the interactions at Standing Rock shot by the late Native journalist Myron Dewey

"Myron was a force for good in bringing the recognition of Standing Rock to the world," said Kring. "The majority of the drone footage in this film is thanks to him. His question was always, 'How do we now heal from this?'"

(Related: Digital Smoke Signals founder Myron Dewey dies in tragic accident)

“Their fight played out on the world stage, but the women of Standing Rock have a story that is both timeless and universal,” Kring said in a news release. “Through them, we bear witness to the agony and triumph inherent in the struggle for identity. We are grateful to Fuse for giving voice to these incredibly inspiring women who continue to persevere in defense of Mother Earth.”

Interactions at Standing Rock featured in "End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock," directed and produced by Shannon Kring and co-produced by Pearl Daniel Means. (Courtesy image)

In an interview with Indian Country Today, Kring said she decided on telling a documentary story that was based on the contributions of the women leaders at the Standing Rock camp. Kring said the course of the filming was difficult and stressful, she often questioned her own safety and the safety of water protectors.

With growing opposition to the protectors on all sides, Kring knew the footage she was shooting was of utmost importance. “The hardest thing for me was protecting all of our footage. You know, that was a scary thing.”

A flag in distress at the camp in Standing Rock featured in "End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock," directed and produced by Shannon Kring and co-produced by Pearl Daniel Means. (Courtesy image)

Kring says that due to her fair complexion, in many instances she was able to get footage other people might not have been able to obtain. “Sometimes, we were on the other side. Hey, looking the way I do, you know, very White, I think they didn't question it,” she said.

(From l to r) Producer and director Shannon Kring with Camille Nighthorse (Hualapai) at Standing Rock. (Photo credit Eddy Webb.)

From the start of her efforts to showcase the empowered Standing Rock women, Kring said she received the stereotypical pushback from film industry professionals.

“When I was trying to sell this in Europe, there was one guy, of course very much what you would expect of an elite European White male. He said, ‘Who wants to watch a bunch of women cry for 90 minutes?’ Those were his words. Film festivals said to us — because a very well-known filmmaker actually gave them our film and said, you really should include this — we knew it wasn't going to happen. Actually, we just felt it because of the woman’s angle. One of the big programmers at Cannes said, ‘Tell you what, if you get an A-list man to vouch for you women then we'll program it.’

Lula Red Cloud featured in "End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock," directed and produced by Shannon Kring and co-produced by Pearl Daniel Means. (Courtesy image)

“You face that a lot. I had a meeting in LA with a guy who represented an actor who was at least tweeting about it, but I couldn't even get through to him. We were trying to get his support and he put his feet up on his desk while talking to me, like in a movie, and he's just like, ‘this is career suicide.’”

Pearl Daniel means, Kring’s co-producer from the beginning said, “Let's stick to our guns.”

And true to the words of Means, they did.

“Standing for justice is at the core of our principles and ‘End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock’ is a stunning portrayal of the power of community,” said Marc Leonard, head of content for Fuse Media in the release. “We’re honored to share this inspiring documentary as part of our engaging programming which proves that everyone has the power to make a difference.”

Water protectors featured in "End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock," directed and produced by Shannon Kring and co-produced by Pearl Daniel Means. (Courtesy image)

Russell Means said he would come back as lightning

Prior to Kring’s travel to Standing Rock, Pearl Means was actually hit in the solar plexus by lightning. Kring had a conversation with Means and knew that she needed to travel to Standing Rock. She was shooting a documentary in Honduras.

Twenty-four hours later, they were in Standing Rock. They connected with one of the prominent Native matriarchs, Phyllis Young, at the camp and the rest was history for Kring. She knew immediately from her perspective that the film needed to be about the strength of the Native women at Standing Rock.

Phyllis Young, one of the pivotal water protectors featured in "End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock," directed and produced by Shannon Kring and co-produced by Pearl Daniel Means. (Courtesy image)

“I felt like, 'all right, I’m supposed to tell this story.' We went out and it was eye-opening. I expected it to feel really awful or maybe scary, or violent, that sort of thing. But it actually was a feeling that I never felt so welcomed. There was this sense of community that I've never felt and probably never will again. It was really beautiful how everyone was working together. LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, and others who issued the call, and who asked for people to come from other places? That was really impressive that people listened and showed up. And so, yeah, it took me less than a day to see that this needed to be about the women.”

LaDonna Brave Bull Allard was one of many Native women water protectors featured in "End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock," directed and produced by Shannon Kring and co-produced by Pearl Daniel Means. (Courtesy image)

Reflecting on the film, Kring said she was affected by many things, including one moment which stood out to her regarding an officer who was there during the protests. She decided not to include the footage but shared her thoughts.

“A law enforcement officer came forward and contacted me. This would have been probably in maybe September of 2017. Quite a bit after the fact, he said how ashamed he was of what he did. It still gives me goosebumps because in the last file, he tilted the camera up to show himself. So I saw his photo from his body cam footage. You know, we often are in the line of fire ourselves, but it was really brave of him to do what he did. He said he couldn't sleep. He felt haunted…”

“End of The Line: The Women of Standing Rock” first premiered on FuseTV on June 25.

You can watch the documentary here on FuseTV: https://www.fuse.tv/films.

Kring says, "Some people are not able to access FuseTV, but we will have more screenings this year, to include AlJazeera's award-winning series "Witness."

For more information and screenings

See the film's website: http://www.endofthelinefilm.com

See the film's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/endofthelinefilm.

About the film

“End of The Line: The Women of Standing Rock” is produced by Red Queen Media and is airing in partnership with the non-profit organization, Ear to the Ground. The organization directly helps the women and children of Standing Rock and is a resource where people can learn more about divesting, the tribes’ legal battles and how to directly help people from the affected tribes. 

About Fuse Docs

Fuse Media’s award-winning franchises, Fuse Docs and Fuse Films are key pillars in the minority-owned entertainment company’s programming mission to celebrate our Blended America via authentic, empowering storytelling. Fuse Docs is a Peabody, Emmy, NAMIC and Imagen award-winning franchise entering its fifth season, showcasing documentaries making their U.S. TV premieres. It spotlights young, idealistic and diverse people who are celebrating their cultural heritage and identity, confronting issues, and overcoming prejudice. Fuse documents their journeys and partners with organizations to help ignite a multiplatform conversation around each title.

About Fuse Media

Fuse Media is a Latino-owned, multicultural-focused, multiplatform entertainment company. It unites cultures through colorful storytelling that celebrates our blended America. The minority-owned and managed company serves its millennial and Gen Z audience through a portfolio of streaming and television brands including Fuse, Fuse Backstage, Fuse Beat, FM (Fuse Music), Fuse Sweat and fuse.tv. Fuse Media also operates the Fuse Content Studio, its in-house production and distribution arm, as well as a growing branded content and live events business. For more information, visit www.fusepress.tv

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