This Saturday, World Refugee Day honors the millions of people around the world who have fled their homes in search of safety and a new life. Ten years ago, I was privileged to witness the journey of two families who had escaped the mayhem in Somalia to resettle in the United States. Today, I am pleased to announce this week’s digital release of Rain in a Dry Land, the film that tells their story.
The day of departure from Kakuma Refugee Camp Ten years later, at home in Springfield, MA
In honor of World Refugee Day, we are offering free streaming of Rain in a Dry Land from now through June 21st. Click here to watch the film instantly.
"The particular strength of this film is its intimacy, its insistence on portraying immigrants as complicated, high-strung people negotiating the personal boundaries between their traditions and western modernity."
—Stephen Holden, New York Times
We are also pleased to announce the release of Rain in a Dry Land on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu and GooglePlay through a partnership between Quiver Digital and the Sundance Institute’s Artists Services, a program that helps filmmakers spearhead the digital distribution of work that has been supported by Sundance.
It’s great to see that Rain in a Dry Land Land and other films I have made over the years continue to have a life of their own, especially while I’m deep in the process of creating my current documentary, Tribal Justice. At this stage, it’s hard to imagine that completion funding will come, that creative choices will become clear, and that a new documentary will be born into the world to open hearts and minds.
Looking through the hours of footage we have filmed for Tribal Justice. it is inspiring to rediscover all the great shots and powerful moments we have captured during the past two years, thanks to the generosity of our featured judges and the tribal members whose cases we are following.
If curious, you can read two recent articles about the process of making Tribal Justice, with lots of pictures, one in Connecticut Magazine and the other in Main Street,
Here’s a 2 minute clip from Tribal Justice footage that begins in the Yurok Tribal Court and ends with one of my favorite moments filmed so far, a young man who is recovering from meth addiction singing a poignant Yurok song.
Now it’s time to craft these scenes into a great and moving story of tribal justice restoring lives, another tale of renewal and transformation.
Meanwhile, screenings of Rain in a Dry Land and other previous films are happening around the country in venues large and small.
Last Sunday, Coming to Light screened for a sold out, standing room only crowd at the Mariemont Theater in Cincinnati, in conjunction with the Taft Museum’s new exhibit of Edward S. Curtis photographs. Here's one of my favorite reviews of the film:
"Documentarian Anne Makepeace’s Coming to Light is a riveting portrait of one of America’s most famous photographers... The film becomes a thoughtful exploration of powerful ideas about the relationship between an artist and his subjects."
—Peter Stack, San Francisco Chronicle
We Still Live Here
was one of four films screened at the Rosebud Theater at UT Arlington during a Pow Wow put on by the Native American Languages Lab. And due to popular demand, they added a second screening! I was thrilled that the documentary was shown along with one of my favorite films, Atanarjurat: The Fast Runner. Professor Professor Colleen Fitzgerald wrote, “We loved showing We Still Live Here.
it’s a ‘fan favorite’ among our linguistics instructors, a number of whom saw it when we showed it at the 2012 and 2014 Oklahoma Breath of Life Workshops.
We Still Live Here
also screened at the Garifuna International Film Festival in Los Angeles, a festival dedicated to preserving the Garifuna culture and all indigenous cultures through film, art, music, and dance.
"It's a stunning tale that gives hope to the human spirit in a
Baby It’s You
time when diversity is losing the battle to survive."
— Stewart Nusbaumer, Filmmaker Magazine
will be broadcast in Philadelphia via Temple University Television this summer, due to a request from Eric Mondgock that I couldn’t refuse: “TUTV would be very interested to air your inspirational and compelling program: Baby It’s You
. I saw the program at the Slought Foundation a few weeks back... Our viewers will very much appreciate your spirited production.”
"A whimsical and completely moving meditation, simultaneously warm, funny, and painful, on what family and children mean in today's ultra-confusing world." —Kenneth Turan, LA Times
And here’s a note from someone who screened Rain in a Dry Land for a family of Somali Bantu refugees in Springfield recently: "My daughter asked me if I would accompany her to Springfield to spend the day with Fatuma and her mother, Aisha and all their children. She brought Rain in a Dry Land with her and in the late afternoon we sat with the women and their children and watched the entirety. The children had not seen it before, and the older ones were glued to it… Fatuma asked for a copy for herself, and her children, and one for her mother.
We anticipate that there will be many screenings of Rain in a Dry Land across the country, for audiences large and small, in honor of World Refugee Day. And if you haven’t seen the film, click here for instant streaming. for free through Sunday.
|From Asheville, North Carolina:
I just ran across your film, We Still Live Here and wanted to tell you what an inspiration it was for me. WTVI, a North Carolina PBS affiliate, is where I started my filmmaking career, and my dream is to produce/direct historical pieces for Public Broadcast. Your work is so compelling and wonderfully produced. Thank you so much for being such a strong, intelligent female role model in the film industry. I really needed to see someone like you "making it." Good luck with all of your future projects! I hope to meet and even work with you some day.
—Erin Derham, Oral Historian and Filmmaker
|And Two from Arlington, Texas:
I really enjoyed seeing We Still Live Here. It tells an inspiring story and was encouraging for some Native attendees who are concerned about their own heritage languages and working toward language reclamation.
—Kimberly Johnson, MA student in Linguistics, UTA
Seeing Noam Chomsky's involvement reinforced just how dire the state of the Wampanoag language was/is. We Still Live Here also portrays an excellent example of child language acquisition and that native speakers of a language absolutely can be produced regardless of whether a language is in danger or even extinct.
—Frankie Pennington, Linguistics Major, UTA
Speaking Our Mother Tongues —
Explore Our Language Website!
Can you guess which icon below goes with which tribe on the Our Mother Tongues website? Click to find out!
Check out great photos, watch Videos and learn about many Native American languages from Alaska to North Carolina, Oklahoma to New York, Montana to Massachusetts. There is even an Interactive Map, a Voices page where you can listen to thirteen different Native tongues, a Blog, and a fun feature called ePostcards offering an entertaining way to connect with friends and family by sending audio greetings in a Native American language.
Please visit OurMotherTongues.org
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