Death Valley's Indigenous Peoples Make A Visit To AlphaDogs

Top Quote It may come as a surprise to many to learn that there is a tribe of indigenous peoples who have called Death Valley their home for almost 1000 years. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) November 03, 2017 - One of the most misunderstood places on the planet is likely Death Valley. While most people envision images of searing heat and a dry barren wasteland, there’s another side too often overlooked, that is rich in both history and beauty. It may come as a surprise to many to learn that there is a tribe of indigenous peoples known as the Timbisha Shoshone who have called Death Valley their home for almost 1000 years and some tribe members still live there. Women In The Sand, a Leftwood Pictures production, directed and produced by Steve Jarvis and narrated by Edward James Olmos, tells their story of struggling to overcome injustice and keep their ancient tribal culture alive in the hottest place on earth; Death Valley, California.

    Jarvis first became interested in the Timbisha Shoshone tribe on learning of the their long history of trials and tribulations during a lecture at the Shoshone Museum in Death Valley. Jarvis returned to Death Valley later that year, where he was fortunate enough to meet 91-year-old Pauline Esteves, a life-long Native American/international activist, along with her sister-in-law, Maddy Esteves, a Timbisha basket maker both of whom end up becoming the main focus of the film. “After my meeting, I was hooked,” said Jarvis. “I knew by making this film, it would have the potential to enlighten audiences to the value of—and continuing degradation of— many of this country’s rich indigenous cultures.”

    Once the documentary was shot and a final rough cut created, Jarvis and Executive Producer/Editor, Kate Fosselman went on the search for a trustworthy post-production facility. Beyond several technical problems that needed to be fixed, it was important for Jarvis to find someone who would understand the vision he had in mind for telling the Timbisha’s story. “Kate and I met with the AlphaDogs team and they showed genuine interest in the film and they made us feel very comfortable,” said Jarvis. “We were convinced they were the right people for us.”

    In charge of color-correction was AlphaDogs colorist Sean Stack. Having worked on over a dozen documentaries in recent years, Stack’s acumen proved crucial in the finish of the film. The nature of documentary films comes with a different set of challenges when it comes to finishing and Women In The Sand was no exception. Working with Jarvis and Fosselman, Stack provided the solutions necessary to fix problems that arose in post-production by using a powerful DaVinci Resolve system that has the capability to run on both Mac and PC. Having access to AlphaDogs custom-built system allowed for the flexibility needed to seamlessly fix the problems that often come with documentary filmmaking, such as overexposed interview footage, matching camera formats to timeline applications, getting rid of artifacts and stabilizing images from drone footage. “I am always fascinated by documentary filmmakers who are able to earn the trust of the people whose story they are telling. Without that, you have an outsider’s story and a point of view that isn’t as compelling as it could be,” said Stack. Women In The Sand was a joy to work on because of the filmmakers and their excitement and energy about color-correction and the entire film finishing process.”

    “I’m very happy I chose AlphaDogs to finish our film,” said Jarvis. For indie filmmakers there is nothing better than to know you have a post-production team that is highly qualified and there for you 100%. True partners. That’s unusual today.”

    Jarvis hopes Women In The Sand will move Americans and international activists into action to initiate support to help save this important part of the American tapestry.

    Women In The Sand will screen as an official selection at the 42nd Annual American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco in November and special opening weekend screening on November 10th at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood as part of the Red Nation Film Festival. To purchase tickets visit

    The film has also been given an Award of Merit for Documentary Feature Film and an Award of Merit for Native American/Aboriginal Peoples Film by the Impact Docs Awards. In addition, Women In The Sand was given an award by the TMC London Festival as one of the five nominees for Best Documentary Film. Women In The Sand has received a total of 10 awards to date.

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    About AlphaDogs:
    Founded in 2002, AlphaDogs is an independently owned full service post-production facility located in the center of Burbank’s media district. AlphaDogs gifted team brings a combination of both creative talent and technical expertise paying extra attention to detail in delivering projects with a personal touch. State of the art editing bays, color correction, audio mixing, visual effects, production offices and equipment rentals are available. To learn more

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