Crooked Arrows movie aims to honor the great tradition of lacrosse and introduce it to a whole new generation. “Many people do not understand that this game came from the Native people,” says Dennis Ambriz, who portrays Crooked Arrow.
Actor Aaron Printup, who plays Maug, agrees. “This movie has taken a huge step as far as portraying the Native Americans as we really are in the history of film as far as having the real information about us in there.” Hundreds of Native American extras from the Onondaga, Pequot, Tuscarora and other Nations also volunteered to be in the movie, in order to take part of this special celebration of their heritage.
Peck explains, “The Native American Community has embraced this movie and has opened itself up to us and confided in us, if you will, certain traditions and practices that they don’t usually share with other people.” With so much incredible attention to detail, Peck and Harris knew early on in the development process that there was a devoted following eager to see this movie.
“When I made Bottle Shock, I realized that there are a lot of people who love wine, and who would rally around the film because they felt it spoke to them,” said Harris. “So after making Bottle Shock, I realized there was an equally deeply passionate group who’d never had a movie on their sport and I thought we could really have an opportunity here to make a film that people wanted to see, and which people would actually want to invest in.” Peck and Harris had realized, much like the movie industry, that there was an advantage to make a film that had a built-in audience.
In 2009, they set out to make the film independently. “I’d just gotten this big studio film off the ground at Sony, and I felt like I wanted to use whatever momentum I had from that and transfer it to CROOKED ARROWS,” said Peck. “I wanted to leverage my relationship capital and whatever other competitive advantages I had at the time to get the ball rolling.” Over the course of two years, Peck and Harris put together a sizable contingent of supporters and financers for the film including U.S. Lacrosse, The Onondaga Nation, ReebokÂ® and Sports Studio.
“We reached out to the lacrosse community who became extremely supportive because they knew we were making a film that would be true to their sport and honor it,” said Harris. “Because the film is also rooted in Native American heritage, we reached out to their community, which was equally receptive to a film that would bring attention to the origin of the sport.”
“For two years, Todd and I tirelessly went all around the country putting this movie together – from living rooms to board rooms to country clubs to conventions to Native American nations -we were even honored by being invited to the Native American reservation’s ceremonial long houses and tribal counsel meetings to share our idea with them,” said Peck. “We really were able to reach both the lacrosse and Native American worlds with our film, which is what helped us finance a great movie that works both on a storytelling level and sports movie level.”
“It’s an awesome story, not just one that lacrosse players will connect with, but that the average person will connect with,” said pro lacrosse player Brodie Merrill.
Much like the moral of the film itself, Peck and Harris began their journey as underdogs trying to make a film they believed in. And in the end, they held on to what was important to them, telling a story with integrity, and on their own terms. Like a crooked arrow, it may have taken Peck and Harris some time to get their movie made, but they were able to find their way.