Cahuilla People Featured in USC Graduate Thesis Film

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown July 23rd, 2015 Last Updated on: July 23rd, 2015

Hollywood take note, this is how you work with Native Americans on a film project!

We've featured Albert Chacon (Cupeno-Cahuilla-Apache) on PowWows.com before, highlighting his work documenting the bird singing of the Cahuilla people. Recently he had the unique opportunity to work as one of the consultants on a USC Graduate Thesis Film entitled Off Track.


Synopsis of the film:

As the Mexican-American War rages, rumors of gold lead cartographer Patrick O’Sullivan and two of his fellow soldiers to desert the U.S army in search of riches in the unmapped regions of present-day California. The three are lost and near death when they stumble upon an unlikely guide – the Pul, or Shaman, of a local tribe. As Patrick tries to take advantage of the Pul's knowledge of the area to search for gold, he discovers that the man has his own motives for assisting Patrick's efforts to map the land. This discovery redirects Patrick’s egotistic journey into a historical opportunity to focus his life on a mission greater than himself.

Here's a short clip from their initial fundraising video:

As you can see from their video, the director and producers of Off Track had done their research and wanted to highlight the Cahuilla people in their film, but they wanted to make sure it was done accurately and right. Too many times has Hollywood gotten it wrong. Luckily they had great consultants such as Albert Chacon on their side.

Off Track Digital Book

Albert made his own video, documenting the production process. I think you guys will enjoy seeing the behind the scenes access!

The movie was recently screened at the Palm Springs International Shortfest 2015 which it turns out was a very meaningful spot for the movie.

In an intriguing twist of fate, the festival's Palm Springs location is actually home to the tribe of our hero, Pul. Here, members of the Cahuilla tribe have resided for centuries, and here they still gather to celebrate and remember their culture and history. In fact, the Camelot Theatre where we'll screen our film is only a mile and a half from the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, which provided us extraordinary inspiration and research in the early stages of our project. We've truly come full circle.

Congratulations to all the cast and crew of the film. I hope we'll all be able to get a chance to see this film. For more information on the film you can follow them at https://www.facebook.com/OffTrackTheMovie or visit http://www.offtrackthemovie.com/.

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About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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Ingrid Everaert

Jay tavere is an Apache Navajo he never beat a woman and is a very nice man ask his ex wife she adort him and still do! I now he is very good to people . Also he do very mutch for the elders and all natives so dont screw things up for him and let him do his work in peace!!!


Awesome! I can’t wait!

Steven Rushingwind

I had the privilege of providing the music score for this short film, and as a Cahuilla Native myself this is a huge honor for me~~ A’ho~~~~


Too bad film makers didn’t do their homework when casting the native role. They cast an Iranian masquerading as Indian in the Native role. Director was even told this very early on but didn’t care. Jay Tavare is a fraud, a pretendian, known to beat on women and threaten people who know his truth.


Wrong! He’s White Mountain Apache & Navajo. Let him alone. You must not have a very good life if you’re doing is spreading lies about someone.



Really Kristen? Exactly what clans does Jay belong to?

I know for a fact, via documents and other legal records that he was born in Iran and is Persian. He does not have one drop of blood. He switching between saying he is native to just being a human of this earth.

There are emails and other documents from Jai Janani aka Jay Tavare where he threatened an elderly woman for questioning his clans. He threatened to send the Apaches after her and also to beat her and kill her. He has beaten many women. He has had sex with underaged girls.

Too bad this movie wanted to be Authentic and Respectful yet they kept Jai, a known Persian and sick monster, as the Shaman part.


He is definitely Persian from Iran.

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