Off the Rez
Written and Directed by Jonathan Hock
In "Through the Fire," Hock used the sport of basketball as a point of entry into a poor African-American neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. There he found not just a sports story but a human story, a multi-generational drama about a family fighting to shake off centuries of oppression and seize its moment of destiny. With "Off the Rez," Hock turns his cameras to America's forgotten "hood," the Indian Reservation, where another unique family drama is playing out.
Shoni Schimmel was a high-school junior living on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon, the star basketball player on the local team. Then Shoni's mother, Ceci Moses, took a job coaching a high school team in Portland, and against the wishes of her own mother and grandmother on the "Rez," Ceci brought Shoni and her seven other children with her. Now, Shoni's senior year has become the most important year of their lives as mother and daughter fight to prove that Native American women can become champions off the Rez.
Certain families, through talent, timing, character and conviction, reach a point where they can change the course of their lives forever. If they succeed, they can become an example of pride and inspiration to their People while opening the eyes of all Americans to their story. Shoni and her family have that opportunity today, and the film of their lives promises to be truly unforgettable.
World Premiere on April 26, 2011 at the Tribeca Film Festival. Tribeca Film Guide listing
National broadcast premiere Saturday May 14, 2011 on TLC.