IDFA X De Balie: Bad Press + Talk

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Rebecca Landsberry-Baker, Joe Peeler
running time
United States
While in the US the right to freedom of the press is firmly enshrined in its constitution, this is not the case within most Native American tribes. Media outlets are often financed by the tribal governments themselves, which like to see current events portrayed in a favourable light to dispel prejudice and uphold their image.

Among the Muscogee Nation in Oklahoma, a number of journalists are struggling to be able to do their work independently; they don’t just want to report on beauty pageants and successful entrepreneurs.

Reporter Angel Ellis of Mvskoke Media fights for her job in a turbulent soap opera replete with corrupt, power-hungry officials, featuring the disputed elections of a new chief—whereby the extraordinary situation arises that the journalists have a personal interest in the election of a chief who wants to see press freedom included in the constitution. Will they manage to cover the elections objectively and in the future be able to provide their fellow citizens with independent information?

After the film, we are joined on stage by one of the directors of the film, Joe Peeler, for an in-depth conversation on the challenges of portraying this unique Native American struggle on screen.

About the speakers

Joe Peeler is a Sundance award-winning director and editor whose work has appeared on Netflix, HBO, FX, ESPN, Hulu and CBS. Joe edited Lucy Walker’s Academy Awards Shortlist documentary short The Lion’s Mouth Opens; multiple episodes of the Netflix original series Flint Town; and Margaret Brown’s SXSW premiere documentary short The Black Belt. Most recently, Joe co-directed Bad Press, which premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Freedom of Expression.


Joe PeelerDirector

Altijd als eerste op de hoogte van onze programmering, De Balie podcasts, Tv fragmenten en de nodige verdieping.