CLOSING FILM AND AMERICAS AWARD CEREMONY.
TAFFNY VIRTUAL CINEMA
*In partnership with the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI)
JUNE 28, 2020. Available from 4:00 PM-6:30PM
The film is preceded by The Americas Award Ceremony
Followed by a live-streamed Q&A with directors Willow O'Feral and Brad Heck and producer Jaida Grey Eagle at 5:30 pm
ORIGINAL TITLE: SISTERS RISING
DIRECTOR: Willow O'Feral and Brad Heck
Date completed: 2020
Film Category: Documentary
Length of Film: 59 min.
Sisters Rising is the story of six Native American women fighting to restore personal and tribal sovereignty in the face of ongoing sexual violence against Indigenous women in the United States. Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault than all other American women. 1 in 3 Native women report having been raped during her lifetime and 86% of the offenses are committed by non-Native men. These perpetrators exploit gaps in tribal jurisdictional authority and target Native women as ‘safe victims.’
The film follows six women who refuse to let this pattern of violence continue in the shadows: a tribal cop in the midst of the North Dakota oil boom, an attorney fighting to overturn restrictions on tribal sovereignty, a teacher of Indigenous women’s self-defense, grassroots advocates working to influence legislative change, and the author of the first anti-sex trafficking code to be introduced to a reservation’s tribal court. Their stories shine an unflinching light on righting injustice on both an individual and systemic level.
WILLOW O'FERAL is the award-winning director, producer and cinematographer of two feature documentary films Break the Silence: Reproductive & Sexual Health Stories and Sisters Rising. Break the Silence was awarded the 2018 Choice Champion Award from Planned Parenthood of New England, and the 2019 Best Documentary Feature Award at La Frontera Queer Film Festival. Willow was a Fledgling Fellow at the 2018 DX Investigative Film Festival in Washington DC. She is a member of New Day Films, the longest running distribution cooperative for independent documentary filmmakers in the US, and a co-founder of Haptic Pictures, a production company producing beautiful original content around pressing issues of social justice.
BRAD HECK is a filmmaker, cinematographer, and educator. Sisters Rising is Brad’s directorial debut. He also recently co-produced Willow O’Feral’s feature documentary Break the Silence: Reproductive & Sexual Health Stories, and is a co-founder of Haptic Pictures production company. Previously in his career he worked as a cinematographer on commercial and independent projects, including documentaries featuring diverse visionaries such as Barack Obama, Howard Zinn and Miranda July, and was awarded a regional Emmy for his cinematography work for BRIC Media in NY. Brad currently teaches Film & Video Studies at Marlboro College and holds an MFA in Film from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he was honored with the Emerging Filmmaker Scholarship. Most recently Brad was awarded a Community Engagement Lab Grant to develop a virtual reality project chronicling the impact of climate change in Vermont.
JAIDA GREY EAGLE is an Oglala Lakota artist, born in Pine Ridge, South Dakota and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jaida is a photographer, producer, beadwork artist and writer. Jaida’s photography has been published in numerous publications such as Native People’s Magazine, Indian Country Today, Briarpatch, Vogue, and Tribal College Journal. Her photography ranges from fine art portraiture to documentation of Indigenous resistance. Jaida is a co-producer on the Sisters Rising Documentary, which is the story of six Native American women reclaiming personal and tribal sovereignty in the face of ongoing sexual violence against Indigenous women in the United States and has recently received an Honorable Mention at the Big Sky Doc Festival. She is passionate about bringing awareness to indigenous issues, especially those which impact indigenous women. She received formal training in photography at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico and holds her Bachelors of Fine Arts emphasizing in Fine Art Photography.