A Woman Must Make Her Own Arrows is a feature screenplay currently in development based on the completed short proof of concept film Open Season. Open Season is the filmmaker's MFA thesis film from USC's School of Cinema and is currently in the festival circuit. This page is home for information and updates for both films.
Social Issue(s): Native American sovereignty, rape, women's rights, institutionalized racism.
Filmmakers' diversity demographic(s): Female writer/director, Native American producers, Latino writer, Native American writer, Native American cast.
Target Audience(s): Native American, activists, thriller audiences, young adult, law and policy makers, social workers, women.
Additional Projects in development based on this property:
Feature film screenplay titled A Woman Must Make Her Own Arrows by Jenna Cavelle, Miranda Due and Guillermo Ortiz Pichardo.
Logline (Open Season): After a Native American girl is brutally raped on her reservation, she takes extreme measures when the law doesn't protect her.
Synopsis (Open Season): Mika Jones, a young Native American ribbon dancer, lives a relatively quiet life with her grandmother on the vast Thornfield reservation. While walking alone in a remote forest on the reservation, she’s approached by a white photographer claiming to be lost. After being brutally raped by him, Mika learns that a legislative loophole grants her non-Native assailant immunity from prosecution by tribal courts. Abandoned by the law and dehumanized by her attacker, she goes back into the lion’s den for justice. Inspired by real events.
DIRECTOR: Jenna Cavelle
WRITER: Guillermo Ortiz Pichardo
PRODUCERS: Chateau Bezerra, Sara Gross
ASSOCIATE PRODUCERS: Miranda Due, Kaleena Stone
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Enrico Targetti, Adriana Serrato
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Sade Joseph
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Kevin Gallo, Michael Miller
EDITING: Nicolas Curcio, Chester Howie
SOUND DESIGN & MIX: Jay Dasgupta, Florence Heller
SCORE: Nami Melumad
MUSIC: Traditional Paiute handgame song performed by Kwaz
TRT: 14:42 minutes with credits
A Woman Must Make Her Own Arrows (Feature Film):
First Act: Mika Jones, a Native American woman (mid 20s) lives on an Indian reservation where poverty, alcoholism, and crime is rampant, all issues that she actively ignores through her chosen profession. A self-identified outsider in her community and working in secret as a hacker, she uses the dark net to service clients looking to infiltrate and ruin personal relationships and/or professional corporate links, social media accounts, personal smart phone connections and any and all individuals who seek to overpower others. One day when one of her hard drives fails, she walks to her friend Kima’s place, a gamer, who she sometimes collaborates with, to see if they can recover the data that may now be corrupted.
On her way to Mika’s place a white man (Edward) approaches her looking for directions, as his GPS doesn’t get a good signal. Edward claims to be a GIS specialist working with the tribe’s environmental office to map ancient irrigation systems. Mika is intrigued and agrees to show him a spot she’s heard of that has a network of the ancient ditches if he’ll drop her at Kima’s place. Edward eventually brutally rapes Mika in the belly of one of the ancient ditches within the borders of the reservation, leaving her near death in a field. After never showing up at Kima’s house who is expecting her, Kima contacts the tribal police who begin to look for Mika. Just as Mika finds her way home, the tribal police and some community members are already at her home with her mother and grandmother who have organized a search party. Mika is immediately taken into custody, given a rape kit, and sent home. During the days that follow, she attempts to process and navigate the post-trauma of what’s happened to her. She experiences visual and sound triggers, shame within her family and community, and continues to feel even more isolated than she felt before the rape. The first act ends when the tribal police arrive a few days later at Mika’s home informing her that they have identified her rapist.
Second Act: The tribal police officer, Harry, who is assigned to Mika’s case arrives at her family home and informs her of a legal loophole that prevents the tribe from prosecuting Edward because he’s white. Mika, unaware of this legal loophole, feels raped all over again by this reality that she cannot get justice. Using the information Harry provides her with, she goes off on her own to research the legal loophole, ultimately learning that Native women and men are in fact hunted by white men who are exploiting the legal loophole to target Native women and men, raping and brutally attacking them. She learns of a legal loophole within the legal loophole that creates a climate in which she and other Natives are hunted that states if the assailant commits a crime against her off the reservation that she can attach the new crime to the original crime and thus decides to seek revenge by hunting Edward. She revisits the scene of the crime looking for clues that may lead her to Edward. She finds a clue - the geo-cache box he accidentally left behind - that ultimately leads her to Edward who is hiding out at a motel just off the reservation in the bordering town. She colludes with Harry and the county police to carry out a sting operation in which they entrap Edward but when she finds who she thinks is Edward is in fact someone else she begins to realize that Edward is not acting alone. She now must both stop this new man as well as Edward.
Third Act: We enter the third act with Mika discovering a pattern when she uses Edward’s geo-cache box he left behind to trace his movements. By decoding a series of algorithms she figures out that Edward is playing a game with other men who use Indian reservations as their primary locations. She hasn’t figured out that the game is one of rape so when she finally tracks Edward down, she decides to go to his motel to kill him in revenge. She prepares her weapon and herself and heads out. She arrives at his location and just as she is about to approach his residence, she receives a notification on her smart phone from Kima that she has found the rapist. Mika is confused, as she is currently at Edward’s motel. She calls Kima and learns that the person Kima has found is in fact another rapist beyond the two they have found. Mika decides against killing Edward and to return to work with Kima to figure out what’s really going on. They create a program that lights up a national grid of every reservation in the country with red geo-cache dots, showing every girl who has been hit (raped) to date. She realizes she there are so many that she can’t possibly get to them all just as we cut to black.