If you've ever wondered who owns the ubiquitous Hard Rock Cafe chain, you'd never guess it's the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The Seminoles' fortunes, and how the tribe rose from poverty to self-reliance and wealth, are inextricably linked with the you-can't-make-this-stuff-up personal journey of its charismatic, controversial, longtime leader James Billie. Born a "half breed" outcast deep in the Florida swamps, where some of the tribe's elders wanted to kill him for his mixed blood, Billie grew up wrestling alligators for tourists' change, then served two tours of duty in Vietnam, and later was elected chief. Desperate to take his people off the path of government welfare subsistence, Billie, always a risk taker, made the then unheard of decision to start a bingo hall on the Seminoles' reservation. Indian gaming was off and running.
Relying on a wealth of archival footage and with unprecedented access to Billie, Wrestling Alligators tells the larger-than-life story of Billie and his decades' long battles with the US government, the state of Florida, alligators and even those within his own tribe.
|Running Time:||87 minutes|
|Producers:||James Eowan, Udy Epstein|
|Principal Cast:||James Billie|
|Editor:||Tchavdar Georgiev, Melissa Shea|
|Screenwriter:||Udy Epstein, Tchavdar Georgiev, Andrew Shea|
|US Distributor:||7th Arts Releasing|