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A documentary of a woman's quest to understand the roots of her family's poverty and homelessness reveals a national history of displacement and loss
39 backers pledged $6,809 to help bring this project to life.

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$6,809

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Hello,

I have recently completed a feature length documentary titled “Free Land” about my quest to understand the roots of my family’s poverty and homelessness revealing a national history of displacement and loss.

The film begins by looking back in American history through my mother’s paternal American Indian lineage rooted in Georgia and Tennessee, investigating how they became homeless as a result of federal relocation programs. In order to convey the trauma of having one’s ancestral land forcibly taken away, I employed a mix of historical documentation (census rolls, letters, interviews with the Dawes Commission) and added creative writing to develop the characters—who are both American Indian women and directly related to me through my mother.

My ancestor’s stories are interwoven throughout the film with historical documents, footage of my father I had collected over 15 years working various low pay jobs, and discussion of the many moves and jobs that eventually led us to homelessness. I interweave the two ancestor’s stories with my family story because of the links they share. For example, in one scene, I juxtapose my father’s various jobs working above the land as landscaper, road builder, brick layer with ancestor Henry Freeland's (100 years prior) struggle in various jobs inside the land as a miner.

"Free Land" builds on work I began in my first film thirteen years ago titled, "Mother’s Heritage" (see film on my website, www.mindamartin.com), an eleven-minute video portrait of my mother’s life told through photomontage and recollections. "Free Land" extends this biographical inquiry, encompassing diary, historical text, creative writing, and cultural anthropology. It puts family history into a larger context, and summons new ghosts: policy decisions and the barriers of class.

The film will have its World Premiere at the VIENNALE on October 23 at 3.30 & October 26 at 6pm at the Stadtkino theater in Vienna, Austria. If you are in Vienna at this time, please go to the screening and be one of the first people to get to see the film on a big screen. http://www.viennale.at/

But, and this is where you come in, it's not ready to be distributed. With the help of family, friends, and one grant, I have spent everything in getting the film completed for festival screening, but I don't have anything left for the distribution phase which is quite expensive. The distribution phase of a film includes promotional materials like posters, postcards, DVDs, fees for festivals, mailing costs, and more.

The DVDs are $40, but with every DVD you purchase you are buying 3 DVDs for someone who can't afford to buy one, but would greatly benefit from seeing this film. I don't intend to sell any of these DVDs. I want it to be seen by as many people as possible and your backing the project helps make this happen. My family story is most likely your story or someone you know.

To get a feel for the style and themes of the film, check out the video that contains a teaser of the film. Any amount you donate gives you full access to excerpts of the film.

I will be spending the next year screening the film at various venues. Maybe it will screen near you…

If I meet this project goal by October 31st, 2009, the DVD mailed to you will have a custum-printed full color DVD sleeve, a little book containing letters, Dawes Commission interviews, and additional creative writing that didn't make it in the final cut. Also, I will have a voice over track explaining how I made the film. The DVD will contain a spine label, a full color on-disc print, a DVD menu design, and hi resolution duplication so that it will play on any DVD player and look and sound as good as any thing Hollywood puts out. If I get 300 backers for DVDs, I will be able to make a interactive website for the film that allows anyone to tell their own version of "Free Land".

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This DVD edition is for Kickstarter backers only. The extra DVDs will go to places and people who can't afford to buy the film, but could really benefit from seeing it. So your sponsoring of this project, not only gives you an award, but it goes to helping someone else.

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    A Postcard of the film with a list of future screenings. please give me your address.

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    A DVD of the film mailed to you. Make sure to send me an address and let me know if you would like my signature on the film. Postcard of future screenings.

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    DVD of the film as well as a credit under Generous Support, a postcard of future screenings, and a theatrical poster

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    Full resolution digital download of the film, DVD of the film, a theatrical poster, postcard of future screenings, and a credit in the film under Major Support.

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    Full resolution digital download of the film, DVD of the film, a theatrical poster, postcard of future screenings, a credit in the film under Major Support, invitation to premiere at a festival in your city which includes 2 tickets to the screening as well as to dinner and party after the screening.

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