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Synopsis: Above Boy is a documentary short and intimate lens into the lives of the Chipps family, members of the Oglala Lakota Nation on the Pineridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The documentary, filmed over a two-year period, spotlights the spiritual foundation of Godfrey Benjamin Chipps “Mikal Okshila – Above Boy,” a fourth-generation descendant of Horn Chipp – the Medicine Man for legendary Indian chief, Crazy Horse, and takes a deep dive into the raw modern realities of the reservation through the experiences of his wife (Beverly Red Elk), sons and daughters. Unvarnished and eye-opening, ‘Above Boy’ is a film about ancestry, consequence, the delicacy of ceremony and life on the reservation.


English, Lakota

Run Time

33 minutes

Directed by

Sebastian Funke
Jan Vogel
Lucy Martens

Produced by

Godfrey Benjamin Chipps

Executive Producer

Liz Silver

Director's Statement

Above Boy spotlights the spiritual foundation of Godfrey “Mikal Okshila (Above Boy)” Benjamin Chipps, a fourth-generation descendant of Horn Chipp and takes a deep dive into the modern realities of the reservation through the experiences of his wife (Beverly Red Elk), sons and daughters. It is a film about identity, ancestry and the delicacy of ceremonies. It is a great honour and responsibility to be allowed into the life of the Chipps family and to be trusted to tell their story.
Mitakuye Oyasin — we are all related.

Director's Bio

About Shooting Monkeys:
Shooting Monkeys is a collective of the filmmakers Sebastian Funke and Jan Vogel. We believe if you enjoy what you do the result will reflect that. Our goal is to create inspiring work people can relate to. Work that moves them.

Jan Vogel was born in Quito, Equidor and studied film as a cinematographer at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. Shortly after film school, Jan was signed to Believe Media and directed numerous commercials and music videos for international clients. Jan founded the production house Dickes with two partners in Berlin, Germany in 2004. In 2010, he directed his first feature length film “Wasted Youth” in Athens, Greece which opened the 2011 Rotterdam Film Festival.

Sebastian Funke was born and raised in Hamburg, Germany and studied law in Berlin and film in New York. Since 2009, Sebastian has enjoyed many honors as a freelance film-director including: Shortlist Cannes Lions, New York Festival Silver Trophy (UN Award for Outstanding Communication), Art Directors Club Europe-Nomination.

About Lucy Martens:
With a passion for building bridges through storytelling, Lucy has followed lives and captured voices from all corners of the world. As a cinematographer, director and editor of documentaries and NGO films, her work has been broadcast on BBC Storyville, BBC 3, PBS, ARTE, Canal Plus, and CNN. She shoots full-length documentaries and edits short pieces for NGOs and foundations, such as UNHCR, UNICEF and WFP. Her feature-length documentary, “Out of the Ashes” (BBC Storyville) was co-produced by Sam Mendes and won a 2011 Grierson Award. She is part of Ripple Effect Images, a nonprofit collective of world-class storytellers whose work supports aid groups that empower women and children. She is also a co-founder of Le Ciel Foundation, a charity based in London whose purpose is to bridge ancestral wisdom with the best of modern society. As part of Le Ciel Foundation’s mission she co-directed and filmed “The Twelve”, a feature length documentary on the wisdom and knowledge of twelve indigenous Elders from across the globe.

Production Year


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