The White Snake chronicles Native Americans in 2016 protesting the then-proposed pipeline from the Bakken oil fields in western North Dakota to Southern Illinois running near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Many tribal members considered the pipeline a threat to the region's clean water and ancient burial grounds.
In April 2016, Standing Rock Sioux elder LaDonna Brave Bull Allard established a camp as a center for cultural preservation and spiritual resistance to the pipeline, which grew to thousands of people drawing considerable national and international attention.
An Italian native, Valentina is the widow of Francesco Quinn, son of Oscar-winning actor Anthony Quinn, who died in 2011. In 2012, she created Quinn Studios, in memory of her late husband.
Quinn Studios is a production and post-production company continuing the Quinn legacy in entertainment, the arts and world peace.
Castellani-Quinn talked with La Jolla Village News about her socially conscious filmmaking and about The White Snake.
“It is a film that sprouted from my previous documentary, “One Rock Three Religions” (exploring humanity’s connection to The Temple Mount in Jerusalem) about peace in the Middle East,” she said. “With The White Snake, we didn’t want to do a documentary that was just political, because people don’t relate to that personally.”
“The White Snake” is about technology versus humanity, said Castellani-Quin who pointed out, “The two do not walk together anymore with nature.”
The film producer said doing a film about Native Americans was a transcendent experience. She noted the Sioux tribal chieftain asked her one question when she first arrived to film, “Are you coming in peace?
“That opened my heart, and at the same time, broke it,” Castellani-Quinn said.
Though her documentaries are often about conflict, Castellani-Quinn’s point of view is optimistic.
“I firmly believe we are on the verge of a new era where man actually finds a connection to the earth, his nature, his emotions and his spirituality,” she said. “People are waking up.”
In “One Rock Three Religions,” Castellani-Quinn wanted to establish a “dialogue about peace” while admitting, “We live in a fragile, confusing time.”
Concerning the Middle East, the film producer noted, “People are way more connected and together there than the media, or we, perceive.”
Noting The White Snake was screened in Jerusalem on the same day that 30 people had gotten stabbed, Castellani-Quinn said, “Security didn’t want us to do the screening, but I said, ‘No, we have to move forward and do it.’ We left the doors open and 200 people showed up that night.”
From that screening, Castellani-Quinn learned that, “If we have an open dialogue, our hearts will resonate with the dialogue, and we will find and carve a new path.”
For more information visit onerockthreereligions.com.