‘TE ATA’ earns high praise

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

Release Date: October 17, 2017

ADA, Okla. – Deadline Hollywood and the New York Times are among those applauding “TE ATA,” the feature film produced by the Chickasaw Nation.

New York Times movie critic Teo Bugbee was one of the first to commend the film’s star, O’orianka Kilcher, along with the person she portrays, Chickasaw actress and storyteller “Te Ata” Thompson Fisher.

“The movie’s driving force is its mythic performance scenes, which are choreographed, sung and acted with clear, balletic conviction by the film’s star, Q’orianka Kilcher,” Bugbee writes.

He went on to say “Te Ata became an advocate, through her own artistic excellence, for the inherent dignity the federal government denied American Indians — fittingly, her stage name means “bearer of the morning.”

In 2014, the Chickasaw Nation embarked upon telling the story of Mary Francis Thompson, born in 1895 in Emet, Indian Territory. She acted on Broadway, toured Europe, entertained Britain’s King George and Queen Elizabeth and other European dignitaries.

She was a favorite of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. She performed for the Roosevelt’s first State Dinner honoring British Prime Minister Ramsey MacDonald. Te Ata also performed for the president and his wife at their Hyde Park, New York, home.

Deadline Hollywood film critic Anita Busch said (TE ATA) "looks like a $50 million Hollywood feature."

Busch also thought the film’s star excelled in the role, writing "Kilcher knocks it out of the park,” adding “You could say that Te Ata is one of many Hidden Figures in the Native American culture."

Citing “great direction by Nathan Frankowski,” Busch noted “The film delves into what it meant to be Native American at a time when assimilation was forced upon the culture.”

Online film reviewers at The MungleShow called “TE ATA” "powerful and moving.”

"It is wonderfully produced and crafted.”

One of the elements looked upon favorably is the movie’s family-friendly nature.

“I highly recommend it. It is encouraging to see something the whole family can watch that isn’t simply animated or slapstick humor,” The MungleShow noted in its review.

A four-star rating was given by Don Shanahan, creator/founder/blogger of "Every Movie Has a Lesson."

"TE ATA is the kind of story young women of today need to see, hear and experience,” Shanahan wrote.

“TE ATA is worthy and thoughtful history, through and through, with a brave central figure perfect for the big screen treatment,” he added.

“TE ATA” follows the early life, education and career of Miss Thompson, who wed famed astronomer Dr. Clyde Fisher in 1933. He was curator at the American Museum of Natural History and later head of Hayden Planetarium in New York City.

“TE ATA” follows the events of her journey to fame. Te Ata Thompson Fisher lived to be 99, dying in Oklahoma City in 1995 just days shy of her 100th birthday.

Perhaps her greatest legacy late in her career was performing for and educating school children about Native Americans, their heritage, culture and significance in American history.

Red Carpet Crash, an internet entertainment site, applauded “TE ATA” for many of the movie’s strengths in a review written by movie critic “Lavanya.”

"It will definitely inspire you," Lavanya writes of “TE ATA,” adding the movie “is truly inspirational on all fronts.

“TE ATA comes across as a wonderful piece of history … It succeeds in taking the viewers to the good, old times with a clear picture of their challenges and worries,” Lavanya declares.

“Excellent story, powerful narration, talented cast and careful execution shine as the highlights of this story inspired by history,” Lavanya concludes.

Selig Film News critic Cynthia Flores writes “TE ATA” is "a proud, talented American Indian woman that would not let the world put her in a box or silence her voice. This is the kind of movie you can really take the whole family to see."

“TE ATA” first opened Sept. 27 in Oklahoma, and was subsequently released in more than a dozen states on Sept. 29. “TE ATA” opened Oct. 13 in New York and Los Angeles, where it is scheduled to show through Oct. 19.

“TE ATA” will be released on DVD in November, to coincide with Native American Heritage Month.

For updates or ticket information visit TeAtaMovie.com, TE ATA Facebook page facebook.com/TeAtaMovie or “@TeAtaMovie” on Twitter and Instagram. Connect with “TE ATA” social media on all platforms using #TeAtaMovie.

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