MacArthur Foundation Grant Awarded · Digital Streaming · Tribal Justice Update ··  
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Makepeace Producitons
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Cause for Celebration!

Dear Friends,

I am thrilled to announce that the MacArthur Foundation has just awarded production funding to Tribal Justice. This is a terrific honor, a great boon for the project, and a wonderful way to start the New Year. 

Here's our latest trailer, a 15 minute work sample that we submitted to MacArthur last fall.

Tribal Justice Trailer

Tribal Justice Case Updates

At Yurok, Taos Proctor has passed through several crucial milestones. He graduated from the Yurok Tribal Court’s Wellness Program, and at the end of last year, he was released from probation by the state court judge. He no longer is facing life in prison.

Taos Proctor
Taos honored by Judge Abby at his graduation from the Yurok Tribal Court’s Wellness Program.
Right: Taos with his girlfriend Kelly in the house he is building for her and their son.

A thousand miles south at Quechan, Isaac Palone's story took a darker turn when he was arrested for burglary in nearby Yuma, Arizona. He was incarcerated shortly after his eighteenth birthday.
Isaac Palone
After seven months in jail, Isaac was released on probation. Claudette met him as he came out of jail on a cold December day. He can’t return home to the reservation, just a mile across the Colorado River, because he would be crossing state lines. He’s on his own now. We hope he’ll find his way.
Isaac Palone

In December, we began filming the case of nine year old Dru Denard. Like Isaac, Dru was taken from his family and placed in a group home at a very young age. Claudette invoked the Indian Child Welfare Act to transfer his case from the state to her tribal court, and is now overseeing his reunification with his family.
Dru Denard at home with his sister Daesza
The new funding from MacArthur will enable us to finish principal photography, hire an editor, and take the film at least to a rough cut. We're excited about this next phase of work on Tribal Justice.
Thanks to the MacArthur Foundation for keeping this project going in 2016!

Screenings Far and Wide

Meanwhile, films I have made over the years have been showing up at venues near and far. We had a packed screening of Coming to Light in Santa Barbara in November, with a standing-room-only audience filling the auditorium at the Museum of Natural History.
I’m also very much looking forward to showing Coming to Light on the closing night of the Native FilmFest in Palm Springs on March 6th.

Other 2016 screenings of Coming to Light are happening as far afield as Australia, with plans for one soon at James Cook University in Cairns. Closer to home, Lewis and Clark College in Portland OR will show the film on February 28th in conjunction with a Lake Oswego Public Library program combining the reading of Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher with a screening of the film.
Coming to Light
Scenes from Coming to Light

Rain in a Dry Land

Screenings of Rain in a Dry Land are also happening in many places. The African Community Education program in Worcester, Massachusetts, will use the film to train community members in culturally sensitive tutoring practices. A professor at Colby College who shows the film every year to African immigrant families in the Portland ME area writes, “I never tire of the film, even though I have much of it memorized by now. There are still scenes and music that send a chill down my spine.”
Aden and Madina’s family celebrate 10 years in America. Photos by Rebecca Busselle.
Aden and Madina’s family celebrate 10 years in America (Photos by Rebecca Busselle)
We Still Live HereIn a strange and wonderful convergence of film stories, linguist Jessie Little Doe Baird recently screened We Still Live Here at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. This is the same law school where Judge Claudette White, one of the two featured tribal judges in Tribal Justice, got her law degree. Jessie and Claudette are both doing great things for their people: Jessie is bringing back her tribe’s long forgotten language, and Claudette is restoring traditional forms of justice in her courtroom.


Coming to Light, We Still Live Here, Rain in a Dry Land and three other films I have made over the years are currently available for streaming. With just a click, you can watch the unfolding revival of a long silent language in We Still Live Here, travel thousands of miles to Indian communities across the west in Coming to Light, or experience the journey of two Somali Bantu refugee families resettling in America in Rain in a Dry Land.


You can also join me on my roller coaster ride through the strange world of fertility clinics and Puritan New England neuroses in my first documentary, Baby It’s You. Travel to the mountains of South America in Whistle in the Wind, a short tale of a Bolivian boy and his llama, or experience the journey of a young man emerging from the scary world of the Moonie cult in my first narrative film, Moonchild.


Click on any of the images above to stream these films instantly. You can also buy them in bundles, and/or give them as gifts to others.


Comments on We Still Live Here
I'm a third year doctoral candidate in Theater, and I study the portrayal of mixed-race subjectivity in performance and plays. ... One of the reasons I was so drawn to We Still Live Here is that I'm fascinated by the way the Wampanoag people, though many are mixed, identify their members as truly, purely Wampanoag. As a person of mixed-race myself, it is so refreshing and gratifying to see a group of people who do not see percentages but only see whole persons who belong. ... I loved learning about the Wampanoags and was so moved by the language reclamation project. I turned my advisor on to the film, and she has begun to incorporate the story of Jessie Little Doe in her teaching.
— Rena Heinrich, UCSB graduate student

We Still Live Here was such an amazing experience for my class. We did a discussion session afterwards, and I was really impressed by the questions and comments they had. There were a lot of aspects of this country's history that they just weren't aware of at all... I think it made a big difference for my students, some of whom are part Native American themselves.
— Jessica Henry, teacher at Columbus Preparatory in Columbus Ohio
Comments on Rain in a Dry Land
I will be showing your film Sunday night at my home to a group of Colby College students; this is the 8th year (and probably 15th time) I have shown the film to students and to African immigrant families in the Portland area, and I never tire of the film, even though I have much of it memorized by now. There are still scenes and music that send a chill down my spine.
— Jeff Thaler, Professor at Colby College
You can read a blog about Professor Thaler's course here

I work at a non-profit that provides educational, social, and cultural support services for African refugee and immigrant youth and families who lives in Worcester (MA). I would like to be able to show the documentary to students as well as volunteers and community members being oriented and trained in cultural competent tutoring and educational support practices. Rain in a Dry Land would be very useful to our work.
— From African Community Education
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