AIFFestival- Awarded ‘Best Documentary’ Film goes Global
It was October 6, 2011, opening night at the first Arlington International Film Festival (AIFF). The film presented that evening at the Regent Theatre, following the opening ceremony, was a documentary by filmmaker Anne Makepeace entitled “We Still Live Here.” Six months later it is still being talked about in Arlington, Massachusetts and surrounding towns. Now, in a just announced collaborative arrangement, AIFF will co-present the Makepeace film with Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA). The film schedule is as follows: June 7, 7:30pm, June 8, 6:00pm, June 9, 1:45pm, June 10, 11:30am, and June 13, 3:45pm. There will be a panel discussion following the screening on Thursday, June 7th with filmmaker, Anne Makepeace, Wampanoag linguist, Jessie Little Doe Baird, and linguist and professor at MIT, Norvin Richards III.
We Still Live Here was awarded “Best Documentary” by AIFF in 2011. Its screening at Arlington’s historic Regent Theatre was only the second public showing in Massachusetts. Now the film has become a global phenomenon. Just recently The US State Department’s international cultural diplomacy initiative, The American Film Showcase, has chosen the film
to be screened, along with 28 others, in developing countries around the world. As part of this State Department sponsored program, Makepeace will be screening We Still Live Here and giving workshops and seminars in places like Tajikistan, Burma, Morocco, and Senegal. (For more information about the Showcase, go to: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/02/183627.htm.)
The American Film Showcase builds on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power diplomacy,” which embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools – in this case film – to bring people together and foster greater understanding – a stated goal of the Arlington International Film Festival from its earliest planning stages nearly three years ago.
Five days after receiving her AIFF award, Makepeace wrote on her website blog: “I was delighted that We Still Live Here was chosen as the opening night film at the first ever Arlington International Film Festival, and thrilled to receive the Best Documentary award at the screening last Thursday night. The fabulous Wampanoag linguist Jessie Little Doe Baird and MIT linguistics professor Norvin Richards joined me for the very lively Q+A. Jessie and Norvin have been working together on the Wampanoag dictionary for more than a decade.”
"It is a story about the resurrection of a language and of a culture that's quite unprecedented,'' says Makepeace of her film. "It's the first time a language with no living speakers has been revived as a living, spoken language in a Native American community.''
We Still Live Here documents the efforts of a Mashpee Wampanoag, Jessie Little Doe Baird, who was summoned by her ancestors in a dream vision to reclaim the language of her nation. The story begins in 1994 when Jessie Little Doe, an intrepid, thirty-something Wampanoag social worker, began having recurring dreams: familiar-looking people from another time addressing her in an incomprehensible language. Later she realized they were speaking Wampanoag, a language no one had used for more than a century.
For information about the MFA screening of We Still Live Here, please visit www.mfa.org.
For information about the October 2012 Arlington International Film Festival (AIFF) and discounted, early bird Festival Passes now available, please visit www.aiffest.org .