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Local Voices

Part of a dynamic series posing critical questions about today’s most pressing issues, this month’s Cinema of Urgency showcases a selection of contemporary works (some in progress) by Minnesota filmmakers. The evening includes excerpts of documentaries that tell the stories of the rise of Ilhan Omar’s political career (who recently won a historic primary election) and Winona LaDuke’s environmental activism and defense of the White Earth Reservation. Featured works also address the topics of police violence, forgiving the unforgivable, and more. The program includes films by Remy Auberjonois, E.G. Bailey, D.A. Bullock, Mahmoud Ibrahim & Nathan Fisher, Karl Jacob, Dawn Mikkelson, Keri Pickett, and Norah Shapiro. All digital format. Program length: 120 minutes.

Post-screening conversations with the filmmakers will be moderated by Deirdre Haj, director of the Full Frame Documentary Festival.

Cinema of Urgency is programmed in partnership with Full Frame Documentary Festival.

Program 1

  • Time for Ilhan (working title)
    Directed by Norah Shapiro

Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee and mother of three, challenges a longstanding, successful incumbent for the Minnesota State Legislature, vying to be the first Muslim African-born woman elected to state office in the United States. (work in progress, excerpt)

Producer/Director Norah Shapiro left a decade-long career as a Hennepin County public defender to pursue documentary filmmaking, and she hasn’t looked back since. Her codirected documentary Minnesota 13 (2016), about the untold story of moonshine in Minnesota, premiered this spring at the 2016 Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival and is currently on the festival circuit. In addition to directing Time for Ilhan, she is currently producing a documentary about the Jacob Wetterling story and its wide-reaching impact.

  • Blood Stripe
    Directed by Remy Auberjonois

Our Sergeant returns home to a small town in Minnesota after a third tour with the US Marines in Afghanistan. Unable to sleep, wracked by paranoia and anxiety, it is clear that she carries unseen wounds in addition to the scars she bears on her torso. When a boisterous homecoming party provokes her into an explosive outburst, she runs … deep into the North Woods, but finds she can’t outrun her own heart of darkness. (2016, excerpt)

Remy Auberjonois is director and cowriter of Blood Stripe. For this directorial debut, Auberjonois received the John Schlesinger First Time Filmmaker Award from the Provincetown Film Festival. Kate Nowlin is the lead actress in the film, which she also cowrote and produced. Blood Stripe was recently honored with the Jury Award for US Fiction in its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

  • New Neighbors
    Directed by E.G. Bailey

New Neighbors tells the story of a mother who is determined to keep her family safe in the face of the assaults on black lives, after they have moved to a new neighborhood. (2016, short film)

E.G. Bailey is an Ivey Award–winning spoken word artist, thespian, filmmaker, and producer. He is the cofounder of Tru Ruts Endeavors and the MN Spoken Word Association. Bailey’s latest work includes the co-curation of America Now!, a film project taking place during the 2016 Tampere Short Film Festival in Finland. He is currently directing a new film titled New Neighbors.

  • Travel Documents
    Directed by Mahmoud Ibrahim & Nathan Fisher

Travel Documents follows a Palestinian man living in Baghdad who has his identity documents stolen two weeks before his immigration interview at the US embassy. Reminiscent of the many times he has told his life story to officials, this time he retells it to a sketch artist who draws what he hears. (short film)

Mahmoud Ibrahim is a Lebanese-born Palestinian refugee who spent most of his life in Iraq. He moved to Minnesota in 2013, along with his wife and children. Nathan Fisher is a Minneapolis-based documentary filmmaker. Since 2012, Fisher has been working with the local Twin Cities–based Iraqi refugee community to produce a series of 14 short documentary films about their immigration experiences, life in Minnesota, and the situation back in Iraq.

Program 2

  • Cold November
    Directed by Karl Jacob

A 12-year-old girl raised within a matriarchal household is taken through the right of passage of killing a deer for the first time. Expectations dissolve into chaos, and she finds herself alone, relying on instinct and training to follow through with her decisions and face becoming an adult in the North American wilderness. (2016, excerpt)

Karl Jacob is an actor and filmmaker from Northern Minnesota who currently splits his time between Minnesota and Queens, New York. Jacob’s films have played at festivals throughout the world, including SXSW, LAFF, TCFF, Maryland FF, Tribeca, and Cucalorus. Cold November, which recently received the Emerging Artist grant from the Jerome Foundation and was selected to participate in IFP’s 2016 Narrative Lab, is his debut feature as a solo writer-director.

  • First Daughter and the Black Snake
    Directed by Keri Pickett

Using an out-of-the-box approach to environmental protection, Native American activist and former Green Party vice-presidential candidate Winona LaDuke focuses on Enbridge’s pipelines for fracked oil, calling attention to its dangers and ways that the shale oil boom is adversely affecting the land. (work in progress, excerpt)

Keri Pickett is the producer and director of the documentary feature film The Fabulous Ice Age, winner of an audience award at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. She is the author of several photography books and has been awarded fellowships from the Bush, McKnight, Jerome, and Target Foundations as well as the National Endowment for the Arts.

  • Killing Mookie
    Directed by D.A. Bullock

Killing Mookie is the story of Terrence Franklin, a black man killed by the police before the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. The film is a portrait of a failure of justice with little response and no systemic change. (work in progress, excerpt)

D.A. Bullock is an award-winning filmmaker and social practice artist in the field of story-based activism. Bullock is a McKnight IFP Media Artist Fellow (2014), a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant recipient (2015), and an Intermedia Arts/City of Minneapolis Creative Citymaking Artist (2016). His cinematography work can be seen currently in the ARRAY Releasing documentary film Vanishing Pearls, available on Netflix.

  • Risking Light
    Directed by Dawn Mikkelson

From a mother’s meeting with her child’s killer to a genocide survivor’s decision to reject vengeance, Risking Light explores the complex and unique emotional journeys of four remarkable people from the United States, Cambodia, and Australia who have forgiven the unforgivable. (work in progress, excerpt)

Dawn Mikkelson is an Emmy Award winner (2015) and McKnight Filmmaking Fellow (2010) whose work has been seen on PBS and screened at international festivals including the Galway Film Fleadh, Cambridge Film Festival, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, and Leipzig DOK Market. Mikkelson is the founder of Emergence Pictures, a documentary production company based in Wisconsin.