Mapleton Mail

One of the Most Powerful Films of the Year

On Sacred Ground


Genre: Drama
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 25m
Director(s): Josh Tickell, Rebecca Tickell
Writer(s): Josh Tickell, Rebecca Tickell, William Mapother
Starring: David Arquette, William Mapother, Amy Smart, Kerry Knuppe, Frances Fisher, Irene Bedard, Mariel Hemingway, David Midthunder, Che Jim, and more
Where To Watch: Premiering in Select Theaters and On Demand January 13, 2023

RAVING REVIEW: A powerful look at an essential piece of history in motion, an argument of the two sides, and the ultimate look at what should and shouldn’t be allowed. You’ll never look at this conflict the same way again after this.

I always enjoy political cinema; it was with great interest that I screened the latest offering from the talented filmmaking duo Josh and Rebecca Tickell, ON SCARED GROUND. This film delves into the highly charged and controversial topic of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the protests that arose in opposition to it. It is a film that is not for the faint of heart, as it fearlessly tackles some of the most pressing issues of our time.

At its core, the film is a dramatic thriller that tells the story of two main characters, Daniel (William Mapother) and Elliot (David Arquette), on opposite sides of the pipeline debate. Daniel, a journalist and veteran of the Afghanistan War aligns himself with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the movement to stop the pipeline. On the other hand, Elliot, an executive for an oil company, is unwavering in his commitment to see the pipeline project through to completion.

As the conflict between the two sides intensifies, the paths of Daniel and Elliot diverge, offering a glimpse into one of the most heated protests in modern US history. The film is set against indigenous and tribal nations coming together to rally against the pipeline's potential environmental and cultural impact on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota.

The Tickells have done an outstanding job of weaving together the multiple threads of this complex story, and their commitment to bringing this issue to light is evident in every frame of the film. The film is a dramatic thriller that delves into the moral dilemma that divides capitalist endeavors and offers audiences an entertaining and thought-provoking experience.

From the perspective of Elliot, an executive, the film delves into the inner workings of the oil industry and the relentless drive for profit. It also explores the actions taken by corporations and the government in the face of mounting opposition. On the other hand, through the eyes of Daniel, the film examines the impact of big industries on local communities and the environment and the resilience and determination of grassroots activists.

The film raises thought-provoking questions about the responsibility of corporations, the rights of indigenous peoples, and the protection of the environment. It also offers a sobering look at the lengths some will go to achieve their goals and the human cost of such pursuits. As the film progresses, the stakes become increasingly high, and the characters are forced to make difficult choices.

It is a must-watch for anyone interested in understanding the Dakota Access Pipeline conflict and the social and political issues that it represents.

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[photo courtesy of SHOUT! STUDIOS]