“Do we have to wait for the older generations to die off before we have any justice? I have more hope than that.” - Haida artist, Geoff Greene, on the legacy of Canada's Indian Residential Schools
For millennia, the Haida People have lived on the remote islands of Haida Gwaii. In the wake of the forced assimilation brought about by the Indian Residential Schools, the Haida Nation continues to face great challenges in retaining their cultural and economic sovereignty. From the perspective of a young Haida poet (Towustasin Stocker), White Ravens bears witness to the transgenerational trauma of colonization as survivors, their children, and grandchildren struggle with the effects of substance abuse, suicide, and interfamily trauma.
White Ravens focuses on patterns of resistance, from Towustasin’s family history of blockading corporate logging operations, to the Haida Nation’s resurgence of the potlatch—the gift-giving ceremony that remains central to the self-governance of all Coastal First Nations People. On the eve of a historic chieftanship potlatch, the film meditates on the Haida legacy of resistance and resurgence, presenting a portrait of a First Nation community in healing.
PROJECT HISTORY & CURRENT GOALS
Production on White Ravens began in the summer of 2015 and principal photography was completed in July of 2016. Funds were successfully raised to complete principal photography, with additional support coming from Indigenous Initiatives at Seattle University. Post-production began shortly thereafter, and now a 90-minute fine cut of the film exists. Currently, we seek finishing funds to complete the final phase of the project. The amount we seek reflects the bare minimum to see this project to completion. The funds raised from this campaign will be used for the following purposes:
(1) A return trip to Haida Gwaii, where a fine cut of the film can be presented to the communities at Skidigate and Old Massett. Incorporating the perspectives of the film's participants and the greater community ensures that we do our participants justice.
(2) Bringing the film's central participant, Towustasin Stocker, to Seattle, Washington where post-production is being completed. We plan on presenting a fine cut of the film at Seattle University, and want Towustasin to be present for this event. We'll reach a final cut with Tow present in Seattle.
(3) Promotion of the film on an international stage. This includes film festival submission fees, and the design and printing of promotional materials.
(4) While the vast majority of post-production work is being done in-house, additional color correction and sound design work will be done by outside specialists.
WHY SUPPORT THIS PROJECT
The voices in this film must be heard. We believe that for First Nations communities, this film has the potential to serve as an instrument of healing, opening dialogues on the cross-generational traumas of colonization and the cultural genocide that occurred in Canada's Indian Residential Schools (1876-1996). For the film's non-First-Nation audiences, the film bears witness to survivors of the Indian Residential Schools, their children, and grandchildren, and the cultural resurgence currently taking place on the islands of Haida Gwaii. By bringing this film to global audiences, we all gain critical insights into the genocide that occurred not only in Haida Gwaii, but throughout North America.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
GEORG KOSZULINSKI - Director, Cinematographer, Editor
Georg has been making films and videos since 1999. His award-winning works have been presented at hundreds of colleges, universities, and film festivals around the world. Fandor, recently released his Florida Trilogy (2007-14) and his experimental film essay series, Frontier Journals #1-8 (2013-15). His work has also appeared on the Documentary Channel and the Journal of Short Film. In 2016, he presented new work at the Atlanta Film Festival, San Francisco DocFest, Visible Evidence XXIII, DOCFeed, and Mexico's Oaxaca Film Festival. His film essay, Frontier Journals 08: Antipodes Rising, was recently selected to the Best of the 43rd Annual Northwest Filmmaker's Traveling Tour. Georg is an Assistant Professor of Film Studies at Seattle University where he teaches filmmaking.
ELIZABETH SLAGSVOL - Producer, Sound
Elizabeth has been producing award-winning social-justice documentaries for over a decade. She and Georg have collaborated on numerous feature documentaries, including Immokalee U.S.A. (2008), a film that documents the lives of Mexican and Guatemalan migrant workers in a Florida migrant farmworker community, and Loa: Encounters with the sacred Spirits of Haiti (2016).
JOSHUA YATES - Cinematography
Josh is a media artist and educator based in the Carolinas who oversaw cinematography duties on White Ravens. His award-winning films have screened around the world, including LA's Filmforum, NYC's Anthology Film Archives, Barcelona Independent Film Festival, and most recently the New Orleans Film Festival where his film, This is Yates (2015), won Best Experimental Film. Josh is a lecturer at UNC-Charlotte where he teaches filmmaking.
MEREDITH THOMPSON - Producer
Meredith is a multi-media artist who has been exhibiting art in North America since 2008. She has a bachelor's degree in art history and visual arts from Princeton University and has received awards for a performance and installation piece on American consumerism and for 'Mosquito Americano,' a multi-media mural depicting the resistance to colonization she encountered while teaching art in Puerto Rico. Since 2009, she has been engaged in various environmental and social-justice art projects on Haida Gwaii.
Risks and challenges
With the project nearing completion, the great risks and challenges in making this film remain behind us. With a completed draft of the film in hand, our greatest risk is completing a film and not having the financial resources at hand to adequately promote it. With your support, either in financial contribution and/or the spreading of our fundraising campaign's message, I believe the voices and perspectives brought together in this film will reach a global audience.
- (28 days)