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Theater Brings Silver Screen To Pine Ridge

November 23, 2012, 10:10 PM by Derek Olson

Theater Brings Silver Screen To Pine Ridge
KYLE, SD -

For movie lovers around KELOLAND, there's nothing like heading to the local Cineplex to check out the latest flicks. But people living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, a trip to the movies also included a long drive to Rapid City.

That didn't cut it for one local family, who dreamed of bringing the reservation its first movie theater.

"If it's a full movie theater then a lot of people are clapping and hollering.  It's really exciting," Nunpa Theater co-owner Angel Reddest said.

Until now, moviegoers best option was either a 35 mile trip to Gordon, Nebraska or more than 90 miles away in Rapid City.

"If I went to Rapid to go to a movie like I'm doing right now, I would have to spend around $100; around $40 for gas up there and back," said moviegoer Bill Lonehill, who lives in Porcupine.

"Most people like me, it would just be too long of a drive.  To go there for a movie at night I'd just be dreading the drive home," Nunpa Theater employee Shyla White Lance said.

Angel Reddest grew up in Pine Ridge and dreamed of one day changing that.

"I always wanted to start a movie theater because I love movies. I go to movies a lot and I see a lot of Native American people at the movies and it's something that I've always wanted to do," Reddest said.

Thanks to a lot of hard work, strong family support and a low-interest loan from the state's Department of Economic Development, Reddest's dream has become a reality. 

"We've been working on it for like four years.  It's been a long process of going through the architectural planning and civil engineering," Reddest said.

The Nunpa Theater is located in Kyle and opened for business on November 2.

"It's going really well.  We've had three sell-outs; three consecutive nights of Breaking Dawn Part Two," Reddest said.

"We almost sold out for a fourth night, but we came close so it was really cool," White Lance said.

The Nunpa's two screens boast more than 300 seats, a fact that surprises many guests.

"To be honest, I was surprised by how big it is.  Just from the building alone I thought it was going to be real small in here, but went into the actual theater and it's bigger," Lonehill said.

The theater is the first of its kind on the reservation and saves moviegoers a hefty trip and a chunk of change.

"It's way cheaper, easier for me.  Instead of driving close to 150 miles for a movie now I only have to go about 30 miles for a movie," Lonehill said.

"We got a lot of people saying thank you for building the theater, so we don't have to drive all the way to Rapid City," Reddest said.

While tickets at some theaters can easily top ten dollars, tickets at the Nunpa Theater are just around six dollars.

"Our prices are cheap here, cheaper than the Rapid City prices," White Lance said.

"We've had a lot of grandmas bringing in their grandkids; a lot of couples enjoying a date, a lot of families coming as a family," Reddest said.

Not only is the theater bringing more affordable and accessible entertainment to the people of Pine Ridge, it's also providing some much-needed jobs.

"I'm in college right now and I need the extra money so I can pay rent because I live in a dorm," White Lance said.

"Every single day I get people asking me, 'do you have any openings at the movie theater?  I want to work,'" Reddest said.

For moviegoers on the reservation, it all adds up to a good time and a positive review.

"I like the whole place.  It's just big, brand-new, clean, shiny, the staff is really cool," Lonehill said.

"I hope you come and enjoy a great movie experience on the reservation," Reddest said.

The Nunpa Theater is currently showing the movies Rise of the Guardians and Breaking Dawn Part Two.  To learn more about show times visit the theater's page on Facebook.

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