Marlboro College



MARLBORO, VT – Marlboro College is pleased to announce a special showing of the Rick Derby documentary, Rocks With Wings, slated for Friday, Oct. 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the Whittemore Theater.

Rocks With Wings, a two-hour documentary over thirteen years in the making, traces the journey of Jerry Richardson, an African American star basketball player, and the Lady Chieftains, a high school basketball team from the small Navajo community of Shiprock, New Mexico. Fresh from college, Jerry accepts the challenge to mold the shy young women into fighters on the court. As the girls struggle to overcome prejudice and self-doubt, the coach draws a parallel from his own pain growing up during forced-inte-gration in Texas. A bond is forged that allows the man and his team to rise above the odds and emerge as champions. More than a story about winning and losing, the film portrays a struggle with race, heritage and societal expectations -– for the players, their coach and the entire Navajo community.

Derby focused on the Navajo's serene and spiritual philosophy in contrast to the harshness of their isolated environment. “I had to uncover the story,” says Derby. “I wanted to find out how this African-American man taught Navajo girls to not only play basketball, but to cope with and overcome the intense and debilitating feelings of victimization and self-defeat…to believe in themselves enough to not only win, but feel that they deserve to win.”

Rocks With Wings aired nationally as a prime time special on PBS in December 2002. It recently appeared on the prestigious BBC Storyville strand this past Sept. 4. The film was also hit at film festivals, appearing at many including: Slamdance, Wisconsin, Taos Talking Pictures Festival, the USA Film Festival, the First Peoples' Festival of Montreal where Rocks With Wings received the second prize of the prestigious Rigoberta Menchu Tum Awards, the Urban World Film Festival in New York City where it received The HBO Documentary Feature Prize "for its powerful story telling, compelling characters and its presentation of a rarely seen set of unique cross-cultural relationships," The Native Cinema Showcase produced by the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian held each August in Santa Fe, and most recently The Native American Film & Television Alliance Film Festival where the documentary earned the Jury Award for “Best Feature Film” and Derby took home the Visionary Award for “Directing,” “given to the Filmmaker who delivers a unique artistic approach to his or her film.”

Derby will be on hand following the showing to discuss the documentary. This event is free and open to the public.


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