Of Land and Water: A Portrait of Chief Shirell Parfait-Dardar

“It's our whole identity where I am from. It is what makes us, us.”

Chief Shirell Parfait-Dardar is a 39 year old mother of four. She spends her waking hours working to save her community, advocating for coastal restoration and preservation as the water rises. Chief of the Grand Caillou/Dula Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana for the last eleven years, she is consumed by her efforts to gain tribal recognition from the US Government. As she tirelessly works to serve her tribal citizens, their native land is being swallowed by the Gulf of Mexico.

A documentary film by Keely Kernan.

Support This Project

La Sierra

Through oral histories, community-based media workshops, and extended reality technology, this multimodal project is a collaboration with the people of Costilla County, Colorado, a community of predominantly Chicanx families who have fought for their rights to an 83,000-acre mountain tract known as ‘La Sierra’ for nearly 200 years. Using emergent media to create a simulated experience of three significant sites on this land, La Sierra explores the ways technology can serve as a critical mediator in a community’s navigation and understanding of antagonistic histories dealing with land, power, and use.

An extended reality experience by Sarah McCormick and Kevin Sweet.

Support This Project

MELT: The Memory of Ice

A cinematic archive captured for a world where ice is a distant memory. An operatic converation between generations in the time of climate change.

Imagining a world where ice is a distant memory, the powerful multimedia opera and hybrid music-film MELT: The Memory of Ice archives the meanings and memories of ice for future generations through persuasive sonic and visual counterpoint. With spectacular aerial footage of glaciers giving birth to icebergs, visual portraits of Arctic residents, visitors and scientists, ambient music made from glimmers of Arctic sounds, and memories of ice sung by children’s choirs and the New York-based vocal ensemble M6: Meredith Monk Music Third Generation, this extraordinary experimental music-film will act as a powerful and emotional reminder to preserve our glaciers in a time of climate change.

A feature-length music film directed by Betsey Biggs. Coming Spring 2021.

Support This Project

American Refuge

The forest is a place of refuge, but it’s hard to escape the past.

As the homeless flee the gentrifying cities of the American West and take refuge in nearby forests, the residents of a small, mountain town in Colorado, led by a progressive minister who was himself once homeless, must learn to live with the strangers in their midst and the limitations of the American dream.

A feature-length documentary film produced and written by Christian Hammons. Directed by Eric Coombs Esmail & Christian Hammons. Coming Fall 2020.

Support This Project

Messengers

A anthropolgist reflects on his life, career, and the 1,000-year journey of 400 Nubian mummies.

In 1979, Prof. Dennis Van Gerven exhumed the bodies of 400 Nubian mummies from the desert in Sudan. They were itinerant farmers in the 6th and 7th centuries BC, but in the three decades after they were excavated, they would go to work again as "messengers from the poor." At the end of his career, Van Gerven reflects on his life with the mummies and their afterlife in the United States speaking to the problems of poverty and discrimination.

A short documentary film produced and written by Christian Hammons. Directed by Eric Coombs Esmail & Christian Hammons. Released in 2018 and premiered at the Los Angeles Independent Filmmakers Showcase Film Festival.

View Project