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Dawnland

Impact | VIFF Impact

Is reconciliation possible when we’ve barely acknowledged the truth? That’s the question at the heart of this insightful and deeply moving film about the first government-sanctioned Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the United States, a groundbreaking collaboration between the five nations of the Wabanaki people and the state of Maine.

As in Canada, the US also has a dark history of residential schools, forced adoptions of Indigenous children by white families and assimilationist government policies that sought to "kill the Indian to save the child." That history is detailed here, but the main focus of the film is on the day-to-day work of the Wabanaki TRC, as well as questions about the purpose and value of the process itself. Having been granted incredibly intimate access, the filmmakers shed light on both the emotional toll this process takes on survivors and the internal politics of the Commission, which include conflicting priorities and resulting tensions between the mostly non-Indigenous staffers and their Wabanaki partners. Crafted with exceptional skill and sensitivity, this is a gripping and profound work of bearing witness.


Canadian premiere
Country of Origin: USA
Year: 2018
Running Time: 86 mins
Format: DCP
Related Links: Trailer
Executive Producer: Heather Rae, Beth Murphy, Shirley K. Sneve
Producer: Adam Mazo, N. Bruce Duthu, J.D.
Cinematographer: Ben Pender-Cudlip
Editor: Kristen Salerno
Music: Jennifer Kreisberg
Production Company: amazo Productions
Print Source: Upstander Project

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