Few individuals have an understanding, appreciation and passion toward filmmaking
than Preston Randolph. During his youth, Preston was exposed to the great works of
art in Film by his dad, Steve Randolph. The classic films that formed the modern
industry were responsible for his aspiration toward the business. His films have
been shown across the country in several different film festivals and Preston is
the only person ever to win Best Picture at the NCHS Wyoming State Film Festival
three consecutive years. Besides filmmaking, Preston has a second love for history
and many of his films are based on historical events and true stories. He is devoted
to open eyes and to expose truth and new perspective on controversial issues. He
brings people out of their shell and preaches the concept to question the norm and
find truth in issues other people take for granted
Preston Randolph chose the name Cactus Productions on behalf of his grandpa Russell
Randolph who was a Marine in WWII. During the war Russell was given the nickname
Cactus Randolph. Russell was also a cowboy which is the reason for the cowboy hat
on top of the cactus in the logo
The success of Cactus Productions as any production company, relies on its production
crew. The passionate and talented crew is led by a very visual and enthusiastic,
Preston Randolph. He has been involved in film production for over 6 years and has
assembled a crew ranging from filmmakers who have worked on Academy Award winning
productions, to Emmy and Grammy winning artists. Preston Randolph produces films
that inspire, educate and bring new perspective on controversial issues, new light
on historical events, and dramatic reality of the real world.
Alongside his filmmaking career, Randolph dedicates the remainder of his time in
being a political activist for social justice and volunteering his time in helping
those in need. He has organized an annual charity drive for the people of the Pine
Ridge Indian Reservation.
RV: When did you first begin your interest in film making and what documentaries
have you produced?
Preston: I have been interested in producing films since I was very young. I grew
up watching great films and having the freedom to go out and experiment with an old
video camera my dad had. We lived in the mountains of Montana, so I was able to walk
the hills with a camera catching glimpses of wildlife and nature, and get a since
of absolute freedom. It was during this time that my interest in film became more
of an obsession and today that obsession continues to grow. My dad and grandpa were
historians who gave me the chance to learn of the very important past, especially
the stories of the Native American. That environment, merged with my passion for
social justice and human rights led me to the story of Leonard Peltier.
I have been in production on “Wind Chases the Sun: The Leonard Peltier Story” for
a year and am in the later stages of pre-production at this point. The amount of
research my crew and I are doing is immense and we feel that the film we are producing
will be a key to exposing Leonard Peltier’s case and eventually bringing him home.
Once production and post-production is complete, “Wind Chases the Sun” will be exposed
through the film festival market as well as seeking theatrical and DVD distribution.
This is a chance to take part in a very meaningful film for social change and political
justice for the American Indian and all those who are oppressed through injustice.
RV: Which documentary have you produced holds a special significance/meaning to you
Preston: My current film, “Wind Chases the Sun” means the most to me. The past year
I have grown very close to this case and I recently had the opportunity to spend
time with Leonard Peltier. Since then, this production has become more of a mission.
My life now revolves around the case and this film. I have started relief drives
for the Pine Ridge Reservation and that will be a major part of this film’s production.
Everything we do is to help Leonard Peltier and all the indigenous that are continued
to be mistreated in this Country. I truly cannot express in words what this case
means to me. It is the most important aspect of my life and I intend to fight for
Leonard Peltier’s freedom, until he is home with his family.
Leonard Peltier is in full support of this production and is very hopeful that what
we expose will give him his freedom.
RV: How do you fund your documentaries and what is involved in producing a film?
Preston: Producing a film is a long and stressful process, but when your vision is
finally finished it is all worth it. In my case, I write, direct and produce so I
have the opportunity to see my films unfold in front of me. There is something special
being able to see something you have spent years trying to produce, come together.
As an independent producer, I take the film from the first step to the last. At this
point in my production of “Wind Chases the Sun”, I am organizing a production team,
researching and making connections to the subject, and of course raising funds so
the production will be made possible.
My films are funded by private investors and donations from individuals that feel
passionate to the film’s meaning. “Wind Chases the Sun” is telling the story of Native
American, Leonard Peltier and the atrocities on the Pine Ridge Reservation that happened
during the “Reign of Terror” as well as what is happening today. This story needs
to be told so the masses can stand up and make a change to this very dark part of
Pre-Production funds for “Wind Chases the Sun” are currently being collected and
I encourage anyone who feels passionate for the story of Leonard Peltier or the plight
of the Native American, to donate to this very meaningful film. Without the support
of all those who want justice in this case, this film will not be made possible.
Donations can be sent to Cactus Productions, P.O. Box 2046, Cody, WY 82414. With
the donation, please include your name and contact information so the proper credits
can be distributed at the end of the film for those who donate.
We are seeking early production funding over the kickstarter website. I cannot express
how important this early funding is. This is a great way for people to help out Leonard
Peltier. Attached is a photo of the note Leonard gave to me a few weeks ago.
The $30,000 raised from kickstarter.com will be used in several different areas of
pre-production. The $30,000 will supply the research team with travel expenses and
research fees so every document connected to the Peltier case can be scanned and
placed on an archival hard drive. The first recording sessions for the soundtrack
will be paid for. The legal expenses for the film will be paid for. The production
crew will also be able to produce a very professional pitch trailer so they can pursue
potential investors to fund the remaining budget of the film.
RV: I understand that you are making a film about Leonard Peltier. What are your
hopes for this documentary?
Preston: The goal of this production is to expose the case of Leonard Peltier and
the atrocities on the reservations to the masses. I feel that if the people know
about this case, then they will see the injustice and stand up for what is right
and what is needed. My goal is that this film will bring so much exposure to the
case that in time Leonard Peltier will be free.
The hope and goals of this production have been the same since day one. We are fighting
to free Leonard Peltier and until that day we will have not succeeded.
RV: I read an article that you wrote and the attention that Haiti received during
the earthquake. I agree that help was desperately called for but at the same time
it boggles my mind that a crisis is going at a lot of the reservations with addiction,
violence, and poverty. Is it just not news? Why is this information not making national
headlines in your opinion?
Preston: I feel that these issues should be on the front page of every newspaper
and the headline of every news station, but they are not. In my opinion, the people
are just not aware of these issues and that includes the news networks. In all truth,
the US Government does not want this information exposed, and because of this, it
is a continued genocide of the American indigenous. I feel if news networks would
cover these issues, then people would be educated on these atrocities and changes
would occur. We just have to have a spark to ignite that fire and I feel that this
film will be that spark.
RV: Can you please share with us your heritage and compassion and what would you
say inspires and motivates you?
Preston: I was raised in Montana, but have lived in several states across the country,
including my home state of Arizona. My production company, Cactus Productions, is
named after my grandpa, Russell Randolph, who was raised through the Great Depression,
was a Marine in WWII, and a cowboy when he returned home from the war.
At this point, I am mostly motivated and inspired by the subject matter of “Wind
Chases the Sun”. In the film business, especially the independent film world, you
are always hitting walls. To have a successful project you must fight through those
barriers and continue. With this production especially, when obstacles come in the
way, or when I am extremely stressed I think of what this entire production is about.
I think about the living hell Leonard Peltier has gone through every day for 34 years.
Thinking of that motivates me to move on.
Just the thought that an innocent man imprisoned because of political injustice makes
me work even harder and more efficient to get this film out and help him once again
be free. It has to happen, and the time is now. This production is a failure until
Leonard Peltier is home with his family.
I would like to thank Preston and wish the film much success. To bringing to light
Leonard’s continued plight and fight for justice. Thank you Preston.
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