WWAC premieres Sisters Rising in Brattleboro on July 8



Windham World Affairs Council Presents Brattleboro Premiere of Rising sisters, the award-winning film from Brattleboro area filmmakers Willow O’Feral and Brad Heck.

Vermont Business Magazine As part of the celebration of the 60e anniversary of the Windham World Affairs Council, WWAC presents Rising sisters which addresses the global problem of violence against Indigenous women in a powerful feature documentary about six Native American women claiming their personal and tribal sovereignty. Questions and answers with the filmmakers will follow the screening.

Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than all other American women. One in three Indigenous women report having been raped in their lifetime, and 86% of offenses are committed by non-Indigenous men. These abusers exploit loopholes in tribal jurisdiction and target indigenous women as “safe victims”.

Sisters Rising follows six women who refuse to let this pattern of violence continue in the shadows: a tribal cop in the midst of North Dakota’s oil boom, a lawyer fighting to overturn restrictions on tribal sovereignty, an instructor in self-defense for indigenous women, advocates working to influence legislative change, and the author of the first anti-sex trafficking code to be presented to a tribal court on a reservation. Their stories cast an unshakeable light on redressing injustice at both the individual and system level.

“The heinous violence that is a constant in the lives of Indigenous peoples first impacts Indigenous women,” says co-producer Jaida Gray Eagle (Oglala Lakota), “we are at the forefront of an ongoing legacy of colonization violent, and it is vitally important that the world sees and hears us.

Rising sisters was directed and produced by Brattleboro filmmakers and Marlboro College alumni Willow O’Feral and Brad Heck, who respectively directed and co-produced the award-winning documentary Break the Silence: Reproductive and Sexual Health Stories. Rising sisters was co-produced by Jaida Gray Eager (Oglala Lakota), with executive producer Tantoo Cardinal (Cree / Metis).

The event will take place on Thursday, July 8, 2021 at 7 p.m. at 118 Elliot. Like all WWAC events, the screening of Rising sisters is free and open to the public. A suggested donation of $ 10 will be accepted at the door. Capacity is limited and masks are required at this event for all unvaccinated people. Pre-register for the film on https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wwac-presents-sisters-rising-tickets-159183306555

Rising sisters is the recipient of the Best Film Award – Women’s Voices Now Film Festival – 2021; Best Documentary Feature Award – American Indian Film Festival – 2020; Thaddeus Stevens Prize – Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival – 2020; Honorable Mention Big Sky Award – Big Sky Film Festival – 2020.

“In a portrayal of six courageous participants who refuse to let a model of violence against Indigenous women continue in the shadows, this film sheds an unshakeable and ultimately uplifting light on redressing injustice at the individual and systemic level.” – Big Sky Jury Statement on Rising sisters

Windham’s Global Affairs Council celebrates its 60th anniversary by bringing topics and issues of global significance to the people of Windham County with free, high-quality programming. WWAC is the smallest member of the national organization World Affairs Councils of America, and the only one run entirely by volunteers. Annual memberships bear the running costs of WWAC. If you would like to learn more about WWAC or become a member, find more information on the website: https://www.windhamworldaffairscouncil.org.

Join Rising sisters afterparty with Willow and Brad by becoming a member or renewing your WWAC membership at https://www.windhamworldaffairscouncil.org/membership-application/

WWAC presents Rising sisters is sponsored in part by 118 Elliot, Mocha Joe’s, Creative Catalyst Communications and Brattleboro Food Coop. 118 Elliot is a modern and versatile environment for the creative arts, educational conferences and personal events for up to 220 people. This is a fully ADA accessible space in the heart of downtown Brattleboro. This unique and flexible space features a 2,000 square foot main room and a smaller or backstage conference room that allows for easy transitions between presentations and social events. Moka Joe’s is a specialty coffee business in Brattleboro, VT dedicated to great products to share with friends. Mocha Joe’s works actively to support fair trade and direct trade producers, including their Cameroon project which was born from this commitment. Creative Catalyst Communications is an integrated marketing communications firm in South Newfane, VT, acting as a catalyst to help businesses, municipalities and nonprofits tell their stories and build communities of all kinds. Creative Catalyst specializes in brand identity development, destination marketing and place creation projects. Brattleboro Food Co-op is a full-service, community-owned grocery store and marketplace with over 8,000 active shareholders, offering produce, local cheese, beer and wine, a grocery department, fresh cut meat, fruit fresh seafood section, a bulk food section, frozen food, a dairy, supplements, health and beauty, housewares department, as well as a full-service grocery store featuring dishes hand-made by a team of cooks.

Board member Maia Segura, who will moderate the event, said: “Rising sisters highlights the lasting effects of colonialism around the world with its legacy of “other” indigenous peoples – especially women. We are grateful to Willow, Brad and their native production team for telling a dark but inspiring story of courage and empowerment. “


Sisters Rising – Willow O’Feral, director / producer

Willow O’Feral is the award-winning director, producer and cinematographer of two feature documentaries. Rising sisters, a feature-length documentary about six Native American women struggling to restore personal and tribal sovereignty in the face of sexual violence against Native women, premiered at the 2020 Big Sky Film Festival where it was nominated for the Big Sky Award. Rising sisters won the Best Feature Documentary Award 2020 at the American Indian Film Festival and the Best Film Award at the Women’s Voices Now Festival 2021, and the Thaddeus Stevens Award at the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival. His 2018 documentary Break the Silence: Reproductive and Sexual Health Stories received the award for best feature documentary from the La Frontera Queer Film Festival and the champion’s choice champion award from the Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. Willow is a member of New Day Films, the oldest distribution cooperative for independent documentary makers in the United States.

Sisters Rising – Brad Heck, director / producer

Brad Heck is a filmmaker, cinematographer and educator. Rising sisters is Brad’s first director. He co-produced Willow O’Feral’s feature documentary Break the Silence: Reproductive and Sexual Health Stories, and is co-founder of the production company Haptic Pictures. Previously in his career, he worked as a director of photography on commercial and independent projects, including documentaries starring various visionaries such as Barack Obama, Howard Zinn and Miranda July, and received a Regional Emmy for his film work for BRIC Media in New York. Brad is currently director of the MA in Film program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

O’Feral and Heck are alumni of Marlboro College, formerly located in Marlboro, VT.



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