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‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ to debut at 76th Cannes Film Festival

The film, with a running time of 3 hours and 26 minutes, features the film’s stars and supporting cast speaking the Osage language

“Killers of the Flower Moon” will make its world premiere at the 76th Cannes Film Festival.

Premiering on Saturday, May 20, in the Grand Théâtre Lumière, Osage Nation tribal members will climb the steps of the Palais des Festivals along with the film’s director Martin Scorsese and the film’s stars, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, Cara Jade Myers, JaNae Collins, Jillian Dion, Tantoo Cardinal and other cast and crew members.

Osages are preparing their trips to Cannes, France, for one of the film industry’s most prestigious film festivals.

Clocked with a final run time of 3 hours and 26 minutes, the Apple Original Film is one of four films invited by the festival to premiere in the Out of Competition category, which means it will not compete for the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or.

But before you rush to book your ticket to France, the Festival de Cannes is exclusively reserved for film industry professionals, according to the festival’s official site. Journalists, film enthusiasts and educational groups are also welcome to attend but you must apply for accreditation.  

The film, written for the screen by Eric Roth and Scorsese, is based on David Grann’s best-selling book of the same name, “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Set in 1920s Oklahoma, the film depicts the serial murder of members of the oil-wealthy Osage Nation, a string of brutal crimes that came to be known as the Reign of Terror.

Gladstone, the actress who portrays Mollie Burkhart, said at the Sundance Film Festival in January that Scorsese and DiCaprio listened to the Osage community, which ultimately changed the direction of the film. In early March, costume designer Jacqueline West said at the end of a masterclass for Qatar’s Doha Film Institute that she and DiCaprio believe “Killers of the Flower Moon” is a “masterpiece.” She also made further comments to that the film follows the book and the Native cast is excellent.

On April 17, representatives from Apple Original Films visited the Osage Nation and toured White Hair Memorial, the Grayhorse Indian Village, the ON Museum and the Big Rain Gallery. Most of the filming took place on the Osage reservation in the communities of Pawhuska, Fairfax and Ralston.

Secretary of Language and Culture, Vann Bighorse, addressed the Osage Congressional Culture Committee on April 20 and responded to Congressman Joe Tillman’s regrets that the Congressional chambers weren’t full of people to hear updates on their initiatives. Bighorse gave an update on the Language department’s involvement with the film.

“This movie that we’re working on, you’re right, this place ought to be full and they ought to be hearing what we’re saying. You know how they say our language is endangered, and I’ve heard some even say it’s dead, but when you see this movie, our teachers, with these actors, I’m talking Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone and all the others that are involved in this movie, talking our language,” Bighorse said. “And not only them but our own people, our own Osage people are talking our language on there, for three hours!

“Not for 30 seconds, not for 2 minutes, but for 3 hours. There’s one scene on there, and I know we all signed these agreements not to be talking about [the film], but there’s this place in there where they’re having this Osage wedding, this old cultural thing and these women are sitting underneath this tent. They’re talking our language, they’re talking conversational Osage, that I thought would never be here.

“So, we have it, and that’s the one last thing I wanted to say.”


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Shannon Shaw Duty
Shannon Shaw Duty

Title: Editor


Twitter: @dutyshaw

Topic Expertise: Columnist, Culture, Community

Languages spoken: English, Osage (intermediate), Spanish (beginner)

Shannon Shaw Duty, Osage from the Grayhorse District, is the editor of the award-winning Osage News, the official independent media of the Osage Nation. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a master’s degree in Legal Studies with an emphasis in Indigenous Peoples Law. She currently sits on the Freedom of Information Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists. She has served as a board member for LION Publishers, as Vice President for the Pawhuska Public Schools Board of Education, on the Board of Directors for the Native American Journalists Association (now Indigenous Journalists Association) and served as a board member and Chairwoman for the Pawhuska Johnson O’Malley Parent Committee. She is a Chips Quinn Scholar, a former instructor for the Freedom Forum’s Native American Journalism Career Conference and the Freedom Forum’s American Indian Journalism Institute. She is a former reporter for The Santa Fe New Mexican. She is a 2012 recipient of the Native American 40 Under 40 from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. In 2014 she helped lead the Osage News to receive NAJA's Elias Boudinot Free Press Award. The Osage News won Best Newspaper from the SPJ-Oklahoma Chapter in their division 2018-2022. Her award-winning work has been published in Indian Country Today, The Washington Post, the Center for Public Integrity, NPR, the Associated Press, Tulsa World and others. She currently resides in Pawhuska, Okla., with her husband and together they share six children, two dogs and two cats.

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