Oceanside CA– The Oceanside International Film Festival (OIFF) called it a wrap on Sunday with a closing reception and awards ceremony at the Star Theatre. A live stage procession by a group of San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians preceded the centerpiece of the days festivities, the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award to a star of the small and big screen, Saginaw Grant.
A visibly emotional Grant accepted the award from 2014 Miss Teen California, Alexa Morgan and OIFF Director, Dmitriy Demidov. Grant, born 1936 in Oklahoma has appeared on the silver screen in several films; Stolen Women, Captured Hearts (1997), Dreamer (2000), Skinwalkers (2002) and as Chief Big Bear in the Lone Ranger (2013) to name a few. His small screen credits include; Baywatch, Nash Bridges, Saving Grace, American Horror Story and Breaking Bad.
Saginaw describes himself as a writer first and spoke of his introduction into acting. “I was in the Bay Area [San Francisco] at a writers seminar. A gentleman came to me and told me that they were doing a commercial for a Chrysler dealership. He asked me if I could do it. I said yes.” Grant continued, ” The man said, “can you give me some background on what you’ve done. Your acting experience, what you’ve done on stage?”
I told him when I was in the 1st grade, I was a reindeer in the school play.”
The man asked Grant if he was sure he could do it?
Grant said yes. The man asked him “How do you know?”
Grant told him “You wouldn’t have asked me if you didn’t think I could do it.”
Grant explained ” I had to believe in myself and I did. That’s how I began my career in acting.” I’ll never forget what that moment meant to me and how that man believed in me.”
Grant encouraged people in the audience “especially the young” to believe in themselves. “Go out there, get an education and get a career. Not a job but get a career. Something that will sustain you through life.”
Saginaw said he was proud of the people that are keeping the traditions of the tribes, alive. “You make our elders proud” continued Grant, “Our elders today, among my people, have neglected their duty.” Grant said their duty is to tell a story. Teach the children the traditions of our past. “Every nation, every people needs to keep their traditions. To remember who they are. Be proud. Remember, If you know who you are, you will always get somewhere on Mother Earth.”
Still active, Grant has two films slated for release. One in 2015, Nekoti and 2016 The Red Man’s Views.
Below: San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians dance and sing for the audience attending closing ceremonies at the Oceanside International Film Festival.