Jim Thorpe Film Premieres in New York November 19

Detailed Biography of Native American Sports Legend

The full length version of “Jim Thorpe, The World’s Greatest Athlete” will premiere in New York on Thursday, Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York, the George Gustav Heye Center. Presented by the museum’s renowned Film + Video Center, the screening will be followed by a discussion with co-producer, co-writer Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki).  The film will be screened again on Saturday, Nov. 21 at 2 p.m.

All screenings are free, but reservations are recommended.  Contact fvc@si.edu or 212.514.3737.  Also on Nov. 19, the museum shop will host a signing by Mr. Bruchac of his published works on Jim Thorpe at the museum shop at 5 p.m.

The film is a biography of Jim Thorpe (Sac/Fox), a Native American athlete who became a sports icon in the first half of the 20th century. Beginning with Thorpe’s boyhood in Indian Territory, it chronicles his rise to athletic stardom at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, winning two gold medals at the 1912 Summer Olympics, his fall from grace in the eyes of the amateur athletic establishment, and his rebound in professional baseball and football. Thorpe retired from pro sports at age 41 just before the stock market crash of 1929. He worked as a construction laborer before getting work in Hollywood as a bit part player. Later, Thorpe became a representative for Indian extras in Hollywood, fighting for equal pay for Native Americans in the movies. In the 1940s, he crisscrossed the nation as a public speaker advocating for Indian self-determination. 

The Film + Video Center of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian is an international leader in the presentation of indigenous film and video projects. National and international programs include the Native American Film and Video Festival, the annual Native Cinema Showcase in Santa Fe, and daily screenings for youth and general audiences. FVC produces the bilingual Native Networks Website with information and resources on indigenous film, video, and radio: www.nativenetworks.si.edu and  www.redesindigenous.si.edu. Media information is provided through the website, by phone and E-mail; on-site research and video viewing are available by appointment.

The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian’s George Gustav Heye Center is located at One Bowling Green in New York City, across from Battery Park. The museum is free and open everyday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Thursdays until 8 p.m. Call (212) 514-3700 for general information and (212) 514-3888 for a recording about the museum’s public programs. By subway, the museum may be reached by the 1 to South Ferry, the 4 or 5 to Bowling Green or the R or W to Whitehall Street. The museum’s Web site is www.americanindian.si.edu.