Four Nights and a Fire

Los Angeles, California | Film Short

Drama, Experimental

Alex Nystrom

1 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $13,865 for post-production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

115 supporters | followers

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FOUR NIGHTS AND A FIRE is a drama about grief & resilience from two perspectives - a son who must keep a fire burning & his father's spirit who's guided by the flame. We’ve received two incredible grants from ART WITH IMPACT & VISION MAKER MEDIA, and now we need your help to get to the finish line!

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

As a mixed Ojibwe filmmaker, my stories often reflect those experiencing an identity crisis. My mission is to tell uniquely Native stories that reflect universal themes and tradition in a contemporary context. Supporting this project uplifts Indigenous storytelling & mental health advocacy!

The Story


We've just hit our goal!

We're overwhelmed with this last wave of support that got us to the finish line -- Miigwech (thank you) so much!

With less than 24 hrs to go, your contribution will still be essential to this film.


We are looking to raise an additional $1,000 to hire a Marketing / PR individual to help guide us through the festival circuit!



Robert, a young Ojibwe man, prepares for a sacred fire ceremony in the woods where his father used to hunt, desperate to feel close to him one last time.
Having just lost his dad, Robert buries himself in his photography, putting a barrier between himself and the reality of his loss, and the emptiness in front of him.

He stubbornly takes on the responsibility of the sole firekeeper, a role usually shared to avoid fatigue in keeping a sacred fire alive for four consecutive days and nights.
Meanwhile, the Spirit of his father finds the flame and seeks to console his son, though he is only able to watch, and grieves that he cannot comfort him.
As Robert fights to keep the flame alive and reckon with the loss of his father, the spirit fights his fear of the inevitable transition to the afterlife.





My name is Alex Nystrom, writer & director of FOUR NIGHTS AND A FIRE.

After losing my father unexpectedly in 2015, I began to connect more deeply with my Ojibwe identity and the traditions that I lost when he passed. I rediscovered writing and found it to be a healthy way to explore my journey of grief.

Last fall, I wrote a poem that would become the backbone and voiceover of this film; an exploration of grief, intergenerational trauma, and how we must ultimately choose what to keep and what to leave behind.

Grief is often explored via the living, those left behind, those left to suffer. The lesser understood side of grief is experienced by those who are passing, the unfinished business, the regrets.

This is my interpretation of the Spirit’s journey, based on my own experience with grief upon the unexpected loss of my father, and the resilience that I’ve found by following in his footsteps.




Last winter, our project was greenlit by an incredible non-profit organization called ART WITH IMPACT, and was selected for a production grant to produce a mental health story with a unique perspective on grief & resilience.

Though originally set on Red Cliff Reservation in northern Wisconsin, we chose to shoot in Oklahoma because of the superb Native film community there. FireThief Productions and Cherokee Film Office were the foundation to bring this film from script to reality.

We assembled a superstar cast and crew, and filmed principal photography over three nights. Despite the long, cold nights, the morale and spirit of the cast and crew stayed high. I think we all knew we were a part of something special.

It didn't hurt that we had a fire burning at all times to keep us warm too ;)



We were lucky enough to receive a second grant from VISION MAKER MEDIA via the Creative Shorts Fellowship, another incredible non-profit who empowers native storytellers, which will help fund the essentials of post-production for our festival cut.

This is where YOU come in -- we're turning to our community (and future fans of the film!) to help us get to the finish line. Completing post-production on a film is just the beginning of the end.

By contributing to this project, you can help us finish this film that is very special, personal, and important to all of us. 

The money we raise from this campaign will go to many intregral parts of this project. Here is a visual breakdown of our costs:

DEFERRED PRODUCTION COSTS: We deferred some out-of-pocket costs from production that now we're seeking to recoup!

FINAL CREATIVE TOUCHES: As we complete the festival cut over the summer, we’ll need funds to hire creative collaborators to make this film truly unique:

- Ojibwe Translator / Speaker (+ ADR Travel & Lodging Expenses)

- Composer

- Titles + Credits Artist

- Film Poster Artist

FESTIVALS: This fall, we'll be applying to festivals with hopes to premiere in early 2023. Applying to dozens of festivals can add up quickly, and we hope to screen this film across the U.S. and internationally as well. Let’s not forget travel and lodging so we can bring our team to the premiere and celebrate in person!

- Screening Fees

- Festival Fees

- Festival Premiere Travel



Please help us get the word out and reach our goal!

If you want to contribute but cannot afford it, sharing this campaign via social media, email, or however you connect with your community would be greatly appreciated!

For ease, we've created these easy copy & paste templates to share:

Support Ojibwe filmmaker Alex Nystrom and his incredibly talented team by contributing to his meditative short film FOUR NIGHTS AND A FIRE (@fournightsandafire), a story about a son who guides the spirit of his father to the afterlife. Join them on @seedandspark:


Check out FOUR NIGHTS AND A FIRE (@fournightsandafire), a beautiful short film about grief & resilience from two perspectives through an indigenous lens. Support the film on @seedandspark:


Pumped about this short film FOUR NIGHTS AND A FIRE (@fournightsandafire), directed by Alex Nystrom, it's gonna be fire! Contribute today on @seedandspark:







Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Deferred Production Costs

Costs $5,000

Recoup production costs that were deferred.

Ojibwe Translator / Speaker

Costs $1,000

To hire an Ojibwe speaker to translate & record the voiceover!

ADR Session Travel + Lodging

Costs $2,000

We have a top notch studio, but all have to get there!


Costs $1,000

To hire a composer!

Festival Submission Fees

Costs $500

To submit to the major festival circuit!

Marketing + Promotion

Costs $1,000

Poster, Screenings, galore!

Festival Premiere Travel

Costs $2,000

To get the core team to our premiere!

About This Team



Alex Nystrom is an Ojibwe writer, director and producer from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is an enrolled member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. Alex’s work focuses on exploring identity in the context of contemporary native stories.

Alex currently lives and works in Los Angeles as a director’s assistant to Amman Abbasi, director of Dayveon (Sundance Film Festival ‘17) and the upcoming feature, The Quench. His last credit is producer on the documentary short, Udaan (Soar), for HINDSIGHT 2020 via FIRELIGHT MEDIA, which premiered at AFI DOCS and resides at PBS.

Alex was a fellow in the 2021 NATIVE AMERICAN MEDIA ALLIANCE’S TV WRITER'S LAB in association with LA SKINS FEST, and developed a pilot called Between, a supernatural mystery that follows a headstrong native man who protects his disappearing island from evil forces beyond his control. Between was most recently selected for the second annual INDIGENOUS LIST (2022) on THE BLACK LIST in partnership with ILLUMINATIVE and the SUNDANCE Indigenous Program, which highlights the top up-and-coming Indigenous film and television writers in the U.S.



Benny Wayne Sully is an actor based in LA. He is an enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate, hailing from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Film credits include the ABC TV pilot Prospect, directed by Randall Einhorn, and Joey Clift’s award-winning short film My First Native American Boyfriend, for which Benny received the Best Actor award from LA Skins Fest. He is a part of Native Voices at the Autry’s ensemble and also a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association. He most recently was 1 of 20 selected from over 11,000 applicants for the inaugural 2022 WarnerMedia Access Talent Spotlight Training Program, created to provide undiscovered and underrepresented actors an opportunity to receive coaching and exposure. You can find him on social media @thedoophus.



Long time prankster, first time actor.



Mike Maliwanag (pronounced MAH-li- WAH-nahg) is a Filipino American cinematographer based in Los Angeles. His work has been featured at the Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, Outfest, and other festivals across the world. Mike strives to shoot films for underrepresented communities. When not shooting he likes to travel and eat food from different parts of the world. He is currently obsessed with okonomiyaki from Hiroshima, Japan.



Jeff Walker is an independent film producer whose work includes screenings and awards at Outfest, Sundance, SXSW, and Champs-Élysées Film Festival to name a few. In 2018, Jeff was invited to the Cannes Producers Network and is a fellow of Film Independent, The IFP/Gotham Narrative Labs, The San Francisco Film Society, the IFP/French In Motion US & French Connection program, and is a graduate of the Venice Biennale Cinema College.



A groundbreaking stylist and art director without fear, Jeremy’s visual spirit anchors the FireThief ethic. His clients include NBA superstars and Grammy nominees. His portfolio is legend. Born and raised in the ranchlands of northeast Oklahoma, in the town of Oologah—home of Will Rogers—Cherokee for “dark cloud.”



Matt's early claim to fame was directing the music video Midnight Vignette, voted one of the top-ten indie videos of 2008 by MTV. He produced and edited his first feature film This May Be The Last Time (AMC / Sundance International) that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2014 and screened at MoMA. His latest, Far Western, premiered at IDFA 2017 in Amsterdam.



As FireThief's Project Manager, Chelsea brings organization to the creative chaos of film production. She juggles deadlines, estimates, production schedules, and personalities with grace, and is always thinking ahead to the next step or the next project. Her happy place is seeing all the pieces fall in place on set for a smooth, fun shoot.



FireThief Productions is an award winning full-service, independent film production company based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to client collaboration, FireThief creates independent projects and specializes in creative documentary filmmaking.


Art With Impact promotes mental wellness by creating space for young people to learn and connect through art and media. AWI is committed to a future where artists are revered as cultural icons of courage and change, enabling young people to communicate freely and fearlessly about their mental health.


Vision Maker Media’s mission is empowering and engaging Native people to share stories. We envision a world changed and healed by understanding Native stories and the public conversations they generate. We work with VMM funded producers to develop, produce and distribute programs for all public media. VMM supports training to increase the number of Native Americans and Alaska Natives producing public broadcasting programs.


The mission of the Cherokee Nation Film Office is to increase the presence of Native Americans in every level of the film and television industries, while creating opportunities for economic development and jobs in the Cherokee Nation.


An Oklahoma based Boutique Camera Rental House.


Current Team