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“Bury My Heart With Tonawanda,” winner of the Best Western New York Film and the Audience Choice awards at this year’s Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, is not finished on the festival circuit yet.

The movie has been selected for the 2013 New York International Film Festival, to be held in Los Angeles from Sept. 18 to 22, and the 10th Annual Red Nation Film Festival, also in L.A., Nov. 2 to 17.

“Bury My Heart With Tonawanda” is directed by local Seneca actor Gary Sundown, from a script by Adrian Esposito of Rochester. It is the story of a young man with Down syndrome who escapes while being transported to a home for the insane in the late 1800s and finds his way into Western New York’s Native American community. The people of the Tonawanda Seneca Nation welcome the disabled newcomer and help him grow into maturity, even as their own culture faces challenges from encroaching European-based society.

Esposito was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome when he was a child and always had a passion for Native American history. After learning that people with disabilities, like himself, were treated with respect in Native culture, he came up with the idea for his movie.

– Melinda Miller