|I think of this important documentary LOST SPARROW all the time and wanted to share the links with you again. The earlier review I wrote is on this blog here and I’ve included it in TWO WORLDS: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects.|
Review by Lara/Trace
On November 16, 2010, the documentary “Lost Sparrow” premiered on PBS Independent Lens. Based on a true incident in 1978, two Crow Indian brothers (both adoptees) ran away from home and were found dead on railroad tracks the next day. Chris Billing’s film takes a closer look at what killed these two boys and what truth shattered his entire family.
The filmmaker is one of four biological children. His parents adopted six, with four of them from the Crow tribe. Billing was 16 when the boys died. The family buries them in New York and moves on with their lives. His parents eventually divorce.
The filmmaker narrates how his little brothers Bobby (13) and Tyler (11) were trying to help their sister Lana (who is also Crow). Lana told her brothers she was being sexually molested by their adoptive father. The two boys were going to Montana to get help. They knew who they were and knew their tribe.
As the film unfolds, Billings’ story becomes more about the despondent quiet Lana, and how she didn’t survive the sexual abuse or find peace after her brother’s heroic gesture and unfortunate deaths. Lana runs far away from the adopters to North Carolina. Her pain is so deep the alcohol abuse seems the only antidote she can afford.
There are no signs of wealth where Lana lives; unlike the Billings and their homes in New Jersey and the summer mansion in upstate New York. Journalist-turned-filmmaker Chris Billing said it took three years to make the film. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Billing, agree to see Lana on film but neither managed an appropriate response to her troubled past. Dysfunctional denial, which Mr. Billing’s exhibited while filming, seems inappropriate and not an apology, considering the facts revealed during the course of filming. The man at the center of the conflict, the adoptive father, an all-controlling philanderer, rich businessman, acts like nothing happened, like he did nothing wrong. What you hope is he was charged as a pedophile and sent to prison. This didn’t happen.
What does happen is the filmmaker and his siblings repatriate the two boys to the Crow tribe and have them interned on tribal land.
Chris films the boys’ father and tribal family who knew the boys were adopted by a rich East coast family but could do nothing to stop the adoption. Their grief leaves the viewer tormented. After revealing the entire truth, the filmmaker said it did little to bond their family or cure old wounds, “If it was good for Lana, then making the film was worth it.”
Wounds this egregious and deep are not healed by a 78-minute film.
From the Lost Sparrow PR: On June 27, 1978, a 44-car Conrail freight train struck and killed two Crow Indian brothers near the town of Little Falls, New York — a day after Bobby, 13, and Tyler, 11, had disappeared. The two boys had run away without warning from the white, Baptist family that had adopted them and their biological sisters seven years earlier, spiriting them from a troubled Montana reservation family to an idyllic Victorian castle across the country. Lost Sparrow recounts award-winning filmmaker Chris Billing’s investigation, three decades later, into the dark family secret that prompted his adopted brothers to flee.
Trace A. DeMeyer (Lara) is the author of One Small Sacrifice and Two Worlds: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects… She lives in Massachusetts.
10 Things to Know About ‘The Red Road’ and Star Jason Momoa
The Red Road is a fictional TV drama, that premiered Feb. 27 on Sundance TV, that tells the story of a Native American tribe on the New York-New Jersey border and its uneasy relationship with the nearby town of Walpole, New Jersey. In recent weeks, the show has sparked a lot of buzz among potential viewers and in Indian country, for at least two reasons: It’s a show about the lives Native Americans set in the contemporary era (rather than a historical one), and its star, Jason Momoa, most famous for Game of Thrones, is suddenly one of those Actors You Need to Know.
Here’s a guide that will give you some useful background on the story and a crash course in Momoa 101.
[I watched the first episode early and I can tell you - it's definitely GREAT, full of suspense and you won't be able to stop wanting more...My friend Gary Farmer is playing the Tribal Chairman... Lara/Trace]
This is what colonization in Australia looks like...History repeats itself over and over until we can get it right and make it right... Lara/Trace
Utopia, a new, epic film on Australia by John Pilger, will be released in Australia in January 2014. The film has been named among the top films of 2013.
In an article for the Guardian, John Pilger reveals that the story of the first Australians is still one of poverty and humiliation, while their land yields the world’s biggest resources boom.
I did leave a comment that I had this concern when I was a young musician. Have you had chance encounters with birth relatives and didn’t know until later?
Originally posted on Adoption Detective | A True Story by Judith Land:
“Innocuous chance encounters with biological family members fed my curiosity and strengthened my desire to know something about my genealogy. Over time, I became increasingly introspective about these incidents and wondered why our souls had collided somewhere along life’s trajectory like the actors Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour in the romantic science fiction film Somewhere in Time. A heartbeat away, I had sensed a chemistry, a beautiful and powerful emotion that connects people emotionally, intellectually and romantically. If you have ever had this feeling, you will know what I am talking about.” —Judith Land, author & adoptee
I wonder how many chance encounters the average adoptee has with biological relatives in their lifetime? Knowing that I was adopted increased my curiosity about my self-identity and triggered the life-long habit of staring at strangers to discern our similarities. I was constantly on the alert for the possibility of a chance…
View original 487 more words
Watch ‘The Truth About Emanuel’ Trailer Starring Jessica Biel and Kaya Scodelario
The trailer for The Truth About Emanuel, the film that mesmerized audiences at the Sundance Festival, has finally arrived! Written and directed by Francesca Gregorini (Tanner Hall), the film stars British sensation Kaya Scodelario and Jessica Biel as a pair of unlikely neighbors who find unexpected solace in each other as both of their lives start to crumble.
Also featuring strong supporting performances from Alfred Molina, Frances O’Connor, Aneurin Barnard and Jimmi Simpson, The Truth About Emanuel is a dramatic, stylish thriller that explores the healing bonds of friendship and the lengths we’ll go to save one another.
The Truth About Emanuel hits VOD and digital platforms on November 26 and select theaters starting January 10.
Watch the ‘Expecting’ Trailer Starring Radha Mitchell and Michelle Monaghan
I had PLANS!
After years of trying, and a lifetime of regrets, Lizzie (Radha Mitchell) has seemingly received a godsend: her best friend Andie (Michelle Monaghan) is looking for adoptive parents for her unborn child. After Andie suggests that Lizzie and her husband adopt the child, and moves in, things seem to be on track. What she soon learns, however, is that nothing ever goes according to plan. Written and directed by Jessie McCormack, Expecting is a hilarious and heartfelt exploration of the push and pull of female friendship. The film hits VOD and digital platforms on November 26 and select theaters on December 6.
I am not sure I will laugh at this one concerning ADOPTION! Lara/Trace
In a small town in the heart of the Pine Ridge Reservation, Sunny Clifford, her twin sister Serena, and their neighbor, Brandon Ferguson, share a common dream of helping to create a better future for their tribe. When South Dakota passes a law criminalizing abortion, their tribal President, Cecelia Fire Thunder, challenges it with a threat to build a clinic on the reservation, drawing Sunny, Serena, and Brandon into a political storm that changes the course of each of their lives.
Sunny Clifford works as a clerk at the Kyle grocery store, living in “the housing” in Kyle, population with her twin sister, Serena. The twins — who have dropped out of college — dream of finding a way to help make things better on the reservation, but they don’t really know where to start. Their idealism is shared by Brandon Ferguson, their neighbor, who — like Serena — has young children.
All three look up to Cecelia Fire Thunder, the first female president of their tribe, as she counters a South Dakota law that makes abortion a crime, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Fire Thunder takes a stand by proposing a women’s health clinic providing abortions on the reservation but open to all local women.
But Fire Thunder’s bold proposal is seen by some as grandstanding, and the tribe is divided over both the abortion issue and Fire Thunder herself. Ultimately, Fire Thunder is impeached by her political enemies inside the tribal government (perhaps with the help of the South Dakota political right), an act that sets off a chain reaction in the lives of Sunny, Serena, and Brandon. A tumultuous tribal election to replace Fire Thunder and a state vote that defeats of the abortion ban, open a political rift between the friends, and help determine the adults they will become.
Producers / Directors: Marion Lipschutz & Rose Rosenblatt
Executive Producer: Heather Rae
Writer: Marion Lipschutz
Director of Photography: Gary Keith Griffin
Sound: Susan Bryant
Editors: Rose Rosenblatt, Jeremy Stulberg & Diego Siranga
Composer: Garth Stevenson
About Independent Lens Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by Independent Television Service (ITVS), the series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding from PBS and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The senior series producer is Lois Vossen. More information at http://www.pbs.org/independentlens. Join Independent Lens on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/independentlens.
An American Public Television Offering,
Available on October 27, 2013, for Feed
Lincoln, Neb.: The Voluntary Relocation Program, spanning from 1952-1973, was the greatest voluntary upheaval of Native Americans during the 20th century. Urban Rez explores the lasting legacy of the relocation policies that encouraged Native Americans to leave their homelands and relocate to urban areas across the country.
Urban Rez’s unique approach to this historical reflection of the Voluntary Relocation Program is interspersed with modern-day analysis which makes clear that the program that started over 60 years ago still has an effect in today’s world. Hosted by actor, musician, and Oglala Lakota member Moses Brings Plenty, this insightful film shines light on a seldom told chapter in American history.
From award-winning producer Lisa D. Olken and director Larry T. Pourier (Lakota), the film features personal stories from multiple tribal perspectives with both urban- and reservation-based views. Olken, Pourier, and the Urban Rez crew traveled to reservations and urban areas to chronicle these stories that are very different in nature from the stereotypical American Indian narrative of land loss, poverty, and scant resources.
“These are stories of tumultuous lives filled with both opportunity and disappointment and that of identities lost and reclaimed,” commented Olken.
Interviewees speak about the wonderful opportunities provided to them such as the work-education programs but also of the challenges of maintaining their tribal traditions, speaking their language, isolation, racism, and being separated from family and friends.
Urban Rez, which received major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and Vision Maker Media, is an offering of the American Public Television (APT). The hour-long program will be available to public television stations nationwide on Sunday, October 27, 2013, for feed with rights beginning on November 1, 2013. For broadcast information in your area, please visit www.visionmakermedia.org/watch. Later this fall, Vision Maker Media will also be offering classroom resources at no cost to accompany the film which can be downloaded from www.visionmakermedia.org/education.
About Rocky Mountain PBS
Each week, nearly 900,000 people throughout Colorado turn to Rocky Mountain PBS to discover inspiring local, national, and international programming; find diverse viewpoints; score front-row-center seats to world-class performances; and experience lifelong learning opportunities.
Rocky Mountain PBS celebrates its 57th anniversary on-air this year. The network began in Denver in 1956 as Colorado’s first public television station. It is now Colorado’s only statewide network, with stations in Denver (KRMA), Pueblo/Colorado Springs (KTSC), Steamboat Springs (KRMZ), Grand Junction (KRMJ), and Durango (KRMU).To learn more, visit www.rmpbs.org.
About Vision Maker Media
Vision Maker Media shares Native stories with the world that represent the cultures, experiences, and values of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Founded in 1977, Vision Maker Media, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) which receives major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, nurtures creativity for development of new projects, partnerships, and funding. Vision Maker Media is the premier source for quality Native American and Pacific Islander educational and home videos. All aspects of our programs encourage the involvement of young people to learn more about careers in the media–to be the next generation of storytellers. Located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, we offer student employment and internships. For more information, visit www.visionmakermedia.org.
American Public Television (APT) has been a leading distributor of high-quality, top-rated programming to America’s public television stations since 1961. In 2010, APT distributed nearly half of the top 100 highest-rated public television titles. Among its 300 new program titles per year are prominent documentaries, news and current affairs programs, dramatic series, how-to programs, children’s series and classic movies, including For Love of Liberty: The Story of America’s Black Patriots, A Ripple of Hope, Rick Steves’ Europe, Newsline, Globe Trekker, Simply Ming, America’s Test Kitchen from Cook’s Illustrated, Lidia’s Italy, P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home, Murdoch Mysteries, Doc Martin, Rosemary & Thyme, The Rat Pack: Live and Swingin’, Johnny Mathis: Wonderful, Wonderful! and John Denver: The Wildlife Concert. APT also licenses programs internationally through its APT Worldwide service. In 2006, APT launched Create®–the TV channel featuring the best of public television’s lifestyle programming. APT is also a partner in the WORLD™ channel expansion project including its web presence at WORLDchannel.org. For more information about APT’s programs and services, visit APTonline.org. For more information on Create, visit CreateTV.com.
|Additional Information Regarding Urban Rez:
Feed Date/NOLA: APT | Sunday, October 27, 2013
Vision Maker Media
1800 N. 33rd Street; Lincoln, NE 68503
shopvisionmaker.org | 1-877-868-2250
Own on DVD:
Educational Version: http://visionmaker.semkhor.com/product.asp?s=visionmaker&pf_id=UREZ-13-E&dept_id=23444
Home Version: Available Friday, November 1, 2013, from www.shopvisionmaker.org.
BABY SELLERS: ICE to be featured in Lifetime made-for-TV movie
Mystery, intrigue and suspense are just some of the things that viewers can expect from Lifetime’s new two-hour made-for-TV original movie “Baby Sellers,” set to air Aug. 17, at 8 p.m. EST. In the movie, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent Nic Morrison, played by Jennifer Finnigan, stumbles upon an international human trafficking ring, which specializes in selling infants. According to Lifetime, Baby Sellers exposes “the dark international crime enterprise of infant trafficking…” Carla Huxley, played by Kirstie Alley, is “a well-respected, influential owner of a major U.S.-based adoption agency… Morrison… believes Huxley is fueling a global business that stops at nothing to find the right child for the right owner – at the right price – and goes undercover to bring her sordid operation down.”
ICE has stated that it is serious about ending human trafficking, and considers it as one of the most heinous crimes that it investigates. In its worst manifestation, human trafficking is akin to modern-day slavery. Victims can find themselves forced into prostitution, involuntary labor and other forms of servitude. Much like the movie Baby Sellers, in certain cases, the victims are mere children. They find themselves surrounded by an unfamiliar culture and language without identification documents, fearing for their lives and the lives of their families. ICE relies on tips from the public to dismantle these organizations. ICE encourages the public to look and listen for suspicious activity. Trafficking victims are often hidden in plain sight, voiceless and scared.
Baby Sellers is Executive Producer Robert Halmi Sr.’s follow-up to his 2005 Lifetime movie “Human Trafficking,” which starred Mira Sorvino, Donald Sutherland and Robert Carlyle, and also featured ICE. Baby Sellers was produced by Reunion Pictures; executive produced by Halmi, Sr. and Matthew O’Connor; directed by Nick Willing; and the screenplay was written by Suzette Couture and William Gray.
The Cherokee Word for Water is a feature length motion picture that tells the story of the work in the Bell Community that lead Wilma Mankiller to become the first modern female Chief of the Cherokee Nation.
This film is dedicated to the memory of Wilma Mankiller, Johnson Soap, the Bell Community and the contributions and potential of Indian people everywhere.
- Former Cherokee Chief Wilma Mankiller dies at 64 (nebraskapress.typepad.com)
I was blessed to meet Wilma more than once…I am grateful for this woman and her leadership…Trace
I was slow to rent this movie but finally did a month ago (I had been warned it was that good and it was) – it’s another example of government’s programs to distribute children to religious groups or to adoptive parents who are abusive or unknowing about such a despicable program. This movie hurts and broke me up since it’s what I research and write about in my two books about American Indian Adoptees. These children had parents and were not orphans and yet some spent their lives in orphanages anyway. The abuse, especially of the men in this movie and book, will give you nightmares.
I thought I’d share one review from Amazon. It is a very good movie but a warning to those who have not watched it yet — it has triggers for adoptees like me… Trace/Lara
A restrained Emily Watson plays Humphreys, a woman who didn’t ask to be thrust into a worldwide spotlight. In the beginning of the film, she is approached by a woman for help finding her parents. This is when she firsts hears about children being shipped to Australia. Initially reticent and disbelieving, she soon hears a corroboration of this tale. She starts to dig deeper and push further, working between the U.K. and Australia to start repairing families. It consumes her life and livelihood, but she is pushed by a sense of justice. As word gets out, she is a savior to many but an embarrassment to others. And as the unfolding allegations put many important figures in an unfavorable light, she is soon discredited by many and attacked (both emotionally and physically). But as the investigation perseveres, there is soon no use denying the truth.
Watson is so reserved to begin with, it is quite powerful to see the strain start to shatter her existence. It’s a great performance in that it is completely underplayed and, therefore, all the more believable. Directed by Jim Loach (son of award winner Ken Loach), the film also boasts impressive support by David Wenham and Hugo Weaving. Both Weaving and Watson picked up actor accolades from Australian Film Critics Circle. As I watched the movie unravel fairly simply, I was sure I was going to give it four stars as a solid exploration of an unfathomable event. But then the magnitude and emotion really hit me in the concluding scenes and I realized just how well constructed the film actually was. With a minimum of histrionics, sentimentality, or moralizing, the screenplay and the actors really gets under your skin. And, in the end, I was deeply affected by “Oranges and Sunshine” because it didn’t go for all the big expected moments. Understatement done extremely well!
Read this post from my friend DANA first then watch the video:
..Because all of us Indian women have one thing in common that is as inter-tribal as the Grand Entry at Gathering of Nations. We are sisters connected this way….We love yard sales….We love yard sales, garages sales, rummage sales, and second hand thrift stores. As the car slows to a stop in front of a yard sale you will already see a foot out the door. If there are more than one Indian woman in the car and you happen to be lucky enough to take maybe a grandmother and mother and sisters, don’t worry about the time…
Thomas Builds-The-Fire Tells a story about Arlenes Frybread for Mothers everywhere.
100 indians & only 50 pieces of frybread"
- Indian Tacos (anoutdoormom.com)
FROM LARA/TRACE: Guilty as charged – Yard Sales and Free Stuff – I’m there!
Coming to PBS in 2013
THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE, a new film from award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, tells the story of the five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park in 1989. The film chronicles The Central Park Jogger case, for the first time from the perspective of these five teenagers whose lives were upended by this miscarriage of justice.