When Shelby Knox joins a campaign for better sex education in high schools, she begins to question her deeply conservative Southern Baptist upbringing.
Marion Lipschutz is a producer, director and writer. After meeting Rose Rosenblatt while working on The Human Language, a series about linguistics, she and Rose formed Incite Pictures and Cine Qua Non, a not-for-profit. With Rose, Marion has co-directed The Abortion Pill, about the controversy… over the French drug RU 486; Fatherhood USA, a PBS miniseries exploring contemporary fatherhood; and Live Free or Die, the story of a Bedford, New Hampshire doctor banned from teaching in his children's schools because he provides abortions. Live Free or Die aired on POV in 2000, as did The Education of Shelby Knox. Marion and Rose also produced four shows in a series about Charity Hospital in New Orleans, and The Trenchcoat Gang for truTV, about the two most successful bank robbers in U.S. history. Marion is a part-time teacher at the New School in New York City.
Rose Rosenblatt wears multiple hats as a producer, director, and editor. In 1991, she formed Incite Pictures/Cine Qua Non with Marion Lipschutz and together they have produced long format documentaries on social and cultural issues. Projects include: The Education of Shelby Knox— Sundance FF (Best… Cinematography), SXSW (Audience Award), Full Frame, Miami Gay and Lesbian FF (Jury Prize) Human Rights Watch FF (POV 2005); Live Free or Die— Human Rights Watch FF, Woodstock FF (POV 2000); Fatherhood USA (PBS 1998); The Abortion Pill (PBS 1997); The Trenchcoat Gang, truTV (2003); and Code Blue: New Orleans on The Learning Channel (2001). Recently Rose was the script consultant and editor for Body and Soul, nominated for Best Short Documentary category for the Academy Awards.
In a small town in the heart of the Pine Ridge Reservation, Sunny Clifford, her twin sister Serena, and their neighbor, Brandon Ferguson, share a common dream of helping to create a better future for their tribe. When South Dakota passes a law criminalizing abortion, their tribal President, Cecelia Fire Thunder, challenges it with a threat to build a clinic on the reservation, drawing Sunny, Serena, and Brandon into a political storm that changes the course of each of their lives.
Sunny Clifford works as a clerk at the Kyle grocery store, living in "the housing" in Kyle, population with her twin sister, Serena. The twins — who have dropped out of college — dream of finding a way to help make things better on the reservation, but they don't really know where to start. Their idealism is shared by Brandon Ferguson, their neighbor, who — like Serena — has young children.
All three look up to Cecelia Fire Thunder, the first female president of their tribe, as she counters a South Dakota law that makes abortion a crime, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Fire Thunder takes a stand by proposing a women's health clinic providing abortions on the reservation but open to all local women.
But Fire Thunder's bold proposal is seen by some as grandstanding, and the tribe is divided over both the abortion issue and Fire Thunder herself. Ultimately, Fire Thunder is impeached by her political enemies inside the tribal government (perhaps with the help of the South Dakota political right), an act that sets off a chain reaction in the lives of Sunny, Serena, and Brandon. A tumultuous tribal election to replace Fire Thunder and a state vote that defeats of the abortion ban, open a political rift between the friends, and help determine the adults they will become.