Arts & Entertainment
'The New World' reaches out to Native world for debut

NATIVE STARS: Q'Orianka Kilcher as Pocahontas in "The New World," a new film from New Line Cinema.

August Schellenberg as Chief Powhatan.
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"The New World," an epic adventure featuring an up and coming Native actress, makes its debut in Hollywood tonight at a premiere that will be attended by Native leaders.

Q'Orianka Kilcher stars as Pocohantas in her first major motion picture role. The 15-year-old actress, whose heritage is Huachipaeri and Quechua from Peru, invited several leaders of the Navajo Nation, including Council Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan, to attend the premiere.

"Q'Orianka has shown herself to be a very respectful person who has proven that she has the talent to succeed," Morgan said yesterday. "We offer our support to this young woman who has been through so much to even be in the limelight now, and the Navajo Nation thanks her for sharing that with us."

Morgan said the premiere at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences marks the first time a Navajo leader has been invited to a Hollywood screening. In addition to Morgan, Wayne Taylor Jr., the chairman of the Hopi Tribe, Stephen Adkins, the chief of the Chickahominy Tribe of Virginia, and representatives of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma are scheduled to attend.

Due to the presence of tribal leaders, Saskia Kilcher, Q'Orianka Kilcher's mother, called the event "historic." "This is the first time that Native leaders will be on the red carpet," she told Indianz.Com this week.

As part of its promotion for the movie, New Line Cinema is making a major push to include the Native media. In coordination with Saskia Kilcher and the Pawnee Nation, the studio invited several Native print and online outlets to attend a screening and press junket in Los Angeles this weekend.

The effort comes as the film opens to audiences in New York and Los Angeles on December 25. It will expand nationwide on January 13, 2006.

Filmed in Virginia, "The New World" was written and directed by Terrence Malick, whose prior credits include "The Thin Red Line" and "Badlands," both critically acclaimed. In a review this week, The Hollywood Reporter described "The New World" as "visual tone poem orchestrated around the themes of innocence, discovery and loss."

Q'Orianka Kilcher, as Pocahontas, plays opposite Colin Farrell as John Smith, a member of the English contingent that settled Jamestown in present-day Virginia nearly 400 years ago. The romance between the two is a central part of the story as is the conflict between the Virginia tribes -- who still survive today -- and Europeans.

"The New World" cast also features a slate of popular Native actors. Wes Studi. Michael Greyeyes, Irene Bedard and August Schellenberg have key roles as relatives of Pocahontas and members of the Powhatan Tribe.

Prior to its national opening, "The New World" makes its East Coast premiere next week in Virginia. It was just selected as the opening film for the 17th Annual Palm Springs Film Festival, which runs January 5-16 in Palm Springs, California.

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