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The Independent Critic

Chick Big Crow, Cece Big Crow, Doni DeCory
Kris Kaczor
69 Mins.

 "Big Crow" Has World Premiere at Santa Barbara 
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It only takes a few minutes into Kris Kaczor's doc feature Big Crow to realize that we're not in for the usual inspirational sports doc, though let's be clear that Big Crow does most certainly inspire. The film, which recently had its world premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, centers around the story of SuAnne Big Crow, an iconic South Dakota high school basketball player and fiercely proud member of the Lakota nation on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota whose basketball exploits are legendary despite a life that was cut short at the age of 17 in 1992 when she was in a car accident on the way to receive a Miss Basketball award. 

In a community where suicide rates are high and substance abuse issues prevalent, SuAnne Crow had become not just an iconic basketball player but an icon of hope. SuAnne Big Crow once scored 67 points in one game, still a South Dakota record, and it was her last-second shot that led her high school team to its first ever state championship. She was a cheerleader, three-sport athlete for her Lady Thorpes, and a passionate advocate for life without alcohol or drugs. She was fiercely proud of being Lakota and very likely headed toward scholarship offers from Division I college basketball teams. 

Utilizing archival footage and his time spent on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Kaczor has crafted a film that captures the spirit of SuAnne Big Crow and how her legacy lives on amongst the Lakota in a myriad of ways. 

In 1992, the SuAnne Big Crow Boys and Girls Club was founded and became the first such club in Indian Country. 

The South Dakota High School Athletic Association presents the Spirit of Su Award annually to an outstanding senior player with judging based upon outstanding athletic ability, leadership, character, sportsmanship, and grade point average. 

The National Education Association awards the SuAnne Big Crow Memorial Award to a K-12 student(s), under the age of 20, whose achievements in schools have helped enhance students’ sense of worthy and dignity. 

In 17 years of life, SuAnne Big Crow planted a legacy that continues to this day. 

Kaczor marvelously captures this legacy and also captures the dignity, spirit, beauty, and even humor of the Lakota people. While Big Crow certainly doesn't ignore the challenges faced, it beautifully represents the legacy of SuAnne Big Crow's life and the inspiration of those who continue working toward a better life toward Lakota people. It's clear from Big Crow that SuAnne's memory lives on nearly 30 years after her death. With intelligence and inspiration, Big Crow tells a story that deserves to not be forgotten. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic