Photo courtesy Tanis Parenteau
Actress Tanis Parenteau, right, wrote and stars in a new short film about sexual assault in Indian country. She's launched a Kickstarter page to help fund the film.

Sexual Assault in Indian Country Is Subject of New Short Film, But More Funding Is Needed

Simon Moya-Smith

She starred last year in Netflix’s award-winning political drama, “House of Cards.” Now, actress Tanis Parenteau is hoping to raise awareness to the hyper-sexualization of Native American women in pop culture with her new short film, “A Big Black Space.”

Parenteau recently launched a Kickstarter page to fund the project, which is a little less than $3,000 shy of its projected goal.

The film, which was written by Parenteau and shot entirely in New York City, is about a Native American woman who “narrowly escapes sexual assault” after attending a party, Parenteau revealed on the Kickstarter page.

Parenteau told ICTMN that although filming has wrapped, there is still post-production obligations that require funding.

So far, more than $5,400 has been raised to make the project a reality. According to the page, Parenteau has just two weeks to meet her goal of $8,009.

To date, Parenteau has financed the entire film using her credit card.

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She said she hopes to submit her short film to a slew of festivals this coming autumn, including the Toronto International Film Festival. But in the meantime, she continues to work diligently to make the issue of sexual assault more salient.

Parenteau, who is Métis, Cree and Sioux, said men today (non-Native American males in particular) have an “underlying fascination” with Native American women, which is in part due to the prevalent “Poca-hottie” Halloween costume and image.

Yet, what is not as ubiquitous is the frightening statistics concerning rape and sexual violence Native American women are faced with in society.

Recent studies have found that Native American women are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted than women of any other race.

“And I wanted to tie that experience with [the] images you see in the media,” she said.

Parenteau will star next in the play, “The Way They Live,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City May 15 and 16.

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aliberaldoseofskepticism's picture
Submitted by aliberaldoseofs... on
Here's to hoping they get that funding. Something like one in three Indian women will be sexually assaulted. Could you imagine anyone else being asked to tolerate that?