The Mendocino Film Festival and the Mendocino County Museum come together for a celebration of Mendocino’s rich Native American history


The Mendocino County Museum is pleased to partner with the Mendocino Film Festival on this year’s Willits Program, the Seabiscuit Legacy Film Series.


On Saturday, June 4th, 4:00 pm, the Noyo Theatre in Willits will screen We’re Still Here: Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears Revisited. Following the film screening, from 5:30-7:00 pm, the Museum will host an exclusive celebration of the Festival and Mendocino’s rich Native American history. Guests will have the opportunity to explore the Museum’s exhibits including Woven Worlds: Native Peoples of Mendocino County and the current installation of Reservations Not Required-Returning Home, a collection of contemporary art created by local Wailaki artist, Pete Ethan Castro. Fine refreshments will be available, including wine from Barra of Mendocino and beer from North Coast Brewing Company. Reception attendance is restricted to movie goers of the 4:00 pm screening in Willits only, and cost is included in the price of the movie ticket; $11 in advance, $12 at the door.


We’re Still Here tells the story behind Cash’s largely unknown 1964 concept album, Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian, a moving tribute to the Native American experience. In the midst of social and political upheavals of the decade, Cash hoped to raise awareness about the disenfranchisement and suffering of Native peoples through folk protest songs including ‘The Ballad of Ira Hayes’, about a Native American WWII hero who was immortalized in the famous flag-raising Iwo Jima photograph, only to die back home, impoverished on a reservation. The album was ignored by mainstream press at the time, and Cash and Columbia Records took out a full page ad in Billboard challenging his critics for refusing to play it. Even so, Bitter Tears became a landmark musical statement of political sadness and outrage. Fifty years later with the country once again struggling with social justice issues, artists such as Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson, and more came together under the direction of Grammy Award-winning producer Joe Henry to pay their own tribute to Cash, these extraordinary songs, and Native Americans. Directed by Antonino D’Ambrosio.”


The Mendocino Film Festival will present the Seabiscuit Legacy Film Series in Willits the weekend of June 4 and 5: two days of film screenings, themed events with Willits partners, and special screenings in partnership with Noyo Theatre. The weekend’s festivities will include a festival Skunk Train (featuring the famous Train Singer and the songs of Johnny Cash), a reception at the Mendocino County Museum, and a Ranch Tour and barbecue lunch at Ridgewood Ranch, the home of Seabiscuit. For more information on the Festival or tickets, visit


The Mendocino County Museum is located at 400 East Commercial Street in Willits. Hours are Wed-Sun, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm. Free admission is offered the first Wednesday of every month.;; (707) 459-2736.

The Mendocino Film Festival and the Mendocino County Museum come together for a celebration of Mendocino’s rich Native American history