Arkansas Cinema Society + Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival to Screen Sugarcane at AMFA

The Arkansas Cinema Society (ACS), the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival (HSDFF) and the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts (AMFA) will host a very special screening of Sugarcane, a documentary about how the investigation into abuse and missing children at an Indian residential school ignites a reckoning on the nearby Sugarcane Reserve. The screening is in collaboration with the Modern Native Art exhibit taking place at the AMFA closing May 26th, 2024. The screening will be held on May 22, 2024 in the Performing Arts Theater at AMFA. Doors open at 6:00 pm and the show starts at 6:30 pm. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children/seniors and tickets can be purchased here. Tickets can be purchased here. ACS Executive Director Kathryn Tucker believes Sugarcane is an important film to be showcased.

“ACS loves collaborative events like this one that bring different film + art loving communities together. We wanted to partner with AMFA to help shine a light on their beautiful Native Art exhibit ending this month. HSDFF brought this impactful film to our attention and it felt like a perfect fit,” Tucker said. “The stories of atrocities perpetrated upon Indigenous communities are tragic and sadly abundant,” “Films like Sugarcane unveil hard truths and can allow communities to start hard conversations to hopefully spark change through better awareness.”

Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival Executive Director Ken Jacobson said, “We are thrilled to be partnering with the Arkansas Cinema Society and the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts on this special screening of Sugarcane in association with the museum’s illuminating exhibit on Modern Native Art.” Jacobson said: “Like the exhibit itself, Julian Brave NoiseCat and Emily Kassie’s extraordinary new documentary demonstrates the power of imagery and narrative to reflect on critical issues of contemporary Native identity, place, history, culture, and resistance. We are extremely thankful to our partners, as well as to the film’s distributor, National Geographic Documentary Films, and the filmmakers themselves for their collaboration in putting together such a timely and impactful event.”

Sugarcane Synopsis:
A stunning tribute to the resilience of Native people and their way of life – Sugarcane, the debut feature documentary from Julian Brave NoiseCat and Emily Kassie – is an epic cinematic portrait of a community during a moment of international reckoning. Set amidst a ground-breaking investigation into abuse and death at an Indian residential school, the film empowers participants to break cycles of intergenerational trauma by bearing witness to painful, long-ignored truths – and the love that endures within their families despite the revelation of genocide.

In 2021, evidence of unmarked graves near an Indian residential school run by the Catholic Church in Canada sparked a national outcry about the forced separation, assimilation, and abuse many children experienced at this network of segregated boarding schools designed to slowly destroy the culture and social fabric of Indigenous communities. When Kassie — a journalist and filmmaker — asked her old friend and colleague, NoiseCat, to direct a film documenting the Williams Lake First Nation investigation of St Joseph’s Mission, she never imagined just how close this story was to his own family. As the investigation continued, Emily and Julian traveled back to the rivers, forests and mountains of his homelands to hear the myriad stories of survivors. During production, Julian’s own story became an integral part of this beautiful multi-stranded portrait of a community. By offering space, time, and profound empathy the directors unearthed what was hidden. Kassie and NoiseCat encountered both the
extraordinary pain these individuals had to suppress as a tool for survival and the unique beauty of a group of people finding the strength to persevere.

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