Making the River
Sarah Del Seronde
USA, Documentary, 2007
59 min, Beta SP, Color
501 Screening Room
Sunday, April 20, 5 PM
By the time Jimi Simmons was 24 years old, he had spent less than six months in the free world. Lacking knowledge of his tribal identity or a sense of community, Jimi aligned himself with the Indian Brotherhood within prison. These Indian brothers provided Jimi with his first true sense of belonging and introduced him to cultural teachings and beliefs that would help him to transcend the prison walls. On June 12, 1979, a young Native American prisoner was killed in the Washington State Penitentiary for a twenty-five dollar debt. Three days later, a prison guard, Sgt. William Cross, was killed during a fight with Indian inmates. This led to the longest lockdown in Washington State history and an inmate class-action lawsuit against the state. George and Jimi Simmons were charged with first-degree murder for the death of the guard; the state sought execution by hanging. In solitary confinement for more than two years, and facing the death penalty, Jimi Simmons embarks on a quest for freedom. Making the River is his story.
Daughter of a Dine´ mother and French father, Sarah Del Seronde’s bicultural identity shaped her educational pursuits, interests in travel, instilling in her a desire to serve as a bridge between cultures. Seronde started an independent multimedia company in Flagstaff, Arizona, with her business partner, Paul Stoll. Her short film Sa’ah garnered prestige on the American Indian festival circuit and can be found on National Geographic’s “All Roads Film Project” 2006 box set. This is Del Seronde’s feature film debut.
Producers: Paul Stoll, Sarah Del Seronde
Production Companies: Two Rivers Circle, Aboriginal Lens
Screenwriter: Sarah Del Seronde
Cinematographers: Blackhorse Lowe, Paul Stoll
Editor: Sarah Del Seronde
Music by: Larry Groupé
Cast: Jimi Simmons, Leonard Weinglass, Phil Lane Jr, Ed Mead, Karen Rudolph, Raul Salinas, John Wolfe, John Biggs, Gary Edwards, Richard Mason