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25th anniversary of filming of 'Dances With Wolves' being commemorated in Pierre

PIERRE -- Events are being planned for Pierre the weekend of July 18-20 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the first three days of filming of the Academy Award-winning movie "Dances With Wolves" in the area.

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Kevin Costner, who co-produced, directed and starred in the movie, is not expected to participate in this year's events but will be invited and encouraged to participate in next year's 25th anniversary of the release of the movie.

Nearly 100 Pierre, Fort Pierre and central South Dakota residents were directly involved in the making of the movie.

Bill Stevens, of Pierre, who was a production assistant and van driver during the filming and is production coordinator of the planning committee, said the free weekend will be an opportunity for those involved with the movie to come together and share their experiences.

"We have a wide variety of experiences represented with our speakers," Stevens said. "Everyone who is interested is invited to attend any or all of these sessions."

Jay D. Vogt, director of the South Dakota State Historical Society at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre and a member of the planning committee, noted the historical significance of the movie.

"The commemoration of past events, such as the 'Dances With Wolves' 25th anniversary of filming the movie, provides us with the opportunity to reflect and gather the history of the event," Vogt said. "The South Dakota State Historical Society is careful about what we collect for the archives and museum, and these types of events can bring to our attention new information and material on a particularly significant event.

The free event, at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel, kicks off at 7 p.m. on July 18.

The weekend will conclude with a Sunday morning trip to near the Houck Buffalo Ranch southwest of Fort Pierre, where much of the film was shot, to see buffalo and horses.

A similar event may be held in Rapid City this fall, giving Black Hills-area people a chance to share their memories.