Family & Companions
An Indian of Cheyenne-Arapaho descent, Chris Eyre grew up as the adoptive son of white parents in Portland, OR. He re-established ties to his heritage at the age of 18 and later tracked down his birth mother in an effort to come to terms with his heritage. While attending NYU's graduate film school, Eyre wrote and directed "Tenacity" (1995), a short centered on a pair of Indian boys who encounter a group of rednecks. "Tenacity" received several prizes and grants allowing the screenwriter-director to approach Indian author Sherman Alexie and express interest in adapting several of his short stories as a film. The pair workshopped the material at the Sundance Filmmaker's and Writer's Lab, resulting in the short "Somebody Kept Saying Powwow" (1995), based on a section of a longer screenplay that was eventually filmed as "Smoke Signals" (1998), adapted from Alexie's short story collection "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven." Following the adventures of two Indians who venture from the reservation to Arizona to collect the remains of the father of one, "Smoke Signals" was the first major theatrical feature written, directed and starring Indians. Shown at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival (where it won two awards including the Fillmaker's Trophy), it went on to earn strong critical notices. Eyre had a handful of projects in development as of 1998, including "The Carlyle Indian School," a Showtime movie about the assimilation of Indian children in the 1870s, and a proposed biopic of activist Leonard Peltier. Also screened at the 1998 Sundance Festival was the director's documentary about Indian performance artist James Luna "Bringing It All Back Home" (1997).
After a brief hiatus, Eyre directed the feature "Skins," (2002) an inspirational drama about two Sioux brothers and their incredible relationship.
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Director (TV Mini-Series)
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Wrote and directed short film "Tenacity"; shown at 1995 Sundance Film Festival
Together with writer Sherman Alexie, began develping material at the Sundance Filmmakers and Screenwriter's Lab, resulting in the short, "Somebody Kept Saying Powwow", culled from the second act of the longer script that would become "Smoke Signals"
Became the US recipient of the Cinema 100/Sundance International Award
Co-produced and directed "Bringing It All Back Home", a documentary about Indian performance artist James Luna (also co-producer), shown at 1998 Sundance Film Festival
"Smoke Signals", adapted from Alexie's "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven", premiered at Sundance Film Festival and became the first major theatrical film written and directed by and starring Indians
Directed "Skins", a contemporary comedy-drama about Native Americans; screened at Sundance