Special Speaker for Rotary Club Tomorrow: “Dark Winds” Producer Wirth

 

John Wirth

John Wirth, Palisades resident and Executive Producer of Dark Winds, will be the featured speaker at the Rotary club meeting at Modo Mio, 15200 Sunset Boulevard. The doors open at noon, and Wirth will speak at 12:30.

Dark Winds, based on the detective novels of Tony Hillerman about members of the Navaho Tribal Police, is produced by AMC Studios. It was well-received and became the number one new series launch for AMC+. There are two seasons and a third is expected to debut in 2025.

Set in 1971 on a remote outpost of the Navajo Nation near Monument Valley, Dark Winds follows Lt. Joe Leaphorn of the Tribal Police (Zahn McClarnon) as he is besieged by a series of seemingly unrelated crimes.

He is joined on this journey by Jim Chee (Kiowa Gordon). Chee also has old scores to settle from his youth on the reservation. Together, the two men battle the forces of evil, each other and their own personal demons on the path to salvation.

It also stars Jessica Matten, Deanna Allison, Rainn Wilson, Elva Guerra, Jeremiah Bitsui, Eugene Brave Rock and Noah Emmerich.

The series, based on Hillerman’s books is created by Graham Roland, who exec produces alongside McClarnon, Wirth, Robert Redford, George R.R. Martin, Anne Hillerman, Chris Eyre, Vince Gerardis and Tina Elmo.

Redford optioned Hillerman’s book collection more than three decades ago.

Kiowa Gordon, left, Zahn McClarnon, center and Jessica Matten star in AMC’s Dark Winds.                 (Photo courtesy of AMC)

The first season focused primarily on the book The Listening Woman, with elements of People of Darkness: the production worked closely with the Navajo Nation. With special permission, 70% of Dark Winds was filmed on tribal lands at Tesuque Pueblo in New Mexico, using their facility Camel Rock Studios. Another 30% of the series was filmed on tribal lands at Cochiti Pueblo, also in New Mexico.

John Wirth in an August 2022 Deadline story (“Dark Winds: John Wirth Replaces Vince Calandra as Showrunner for Season 2”) said, “I’m a long-time fan of the Tony Hillerman novels and am looking forward to working with my indigenous partners to bring his books and the world of the Navajo Nation to life on screen.”

If one has not turned to this streaming series, it is interesting on so many levels: the cinematography, the complex stories told and the beauty of the country the Navaho inhabit. Often tribal members speak in their own language, which is translated for viewers. About 90 percent of the production team, including cast, crew and creators are Native Americans.

It is a totally engrossing show, and Wirth’s insight should be fascinating.

The lunch is a pre-set menu (incl. soup, main dish, coffee, tea or soft drink) and there will be three entree choices. If you would like to attend, email Jim Kirtley at jimkirtley@ymcaLA.org

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