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Indie Lens Pop-Up in Honolulu presents DAWNLAND



Vera Zambonelli, Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking, 800-460-6488;

Secondary contact:

Tanya Leverault, ITVS, 415-356-8383;


(Honolulu, HI) - Indie Lens Pop-Up, presented by ITVS, Independent Lens, and Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking in collaboration with PBS Hawaiʻi, Hawaiʻi People’s Fund, and Impact Hub HNL, will present Dawnland, the untold story of Indigenous child removal in the United States through the first government-endorsed truth and reconciliation commission (TRC) in the nation, tasked with investigating the devastating impact of Maine’s child welfare practices on Native American communities. With exclusive access to this groundbreaking process and never-before-seen footage, Dawnland bears witness to intimate, sacred moments of truth-telling and healing. Directed by Adam Mazo and Ben Pender-Cudlip, the film premieres on Independent Lens Monday, November 5, 2018, 10:00-11:00 PM ET (check local listings) as part of Native American Heritage Month programming on PBS.

For most of the 20th century, government agents systematically forced Native American children from their homes and placed them with white families. As recently as the 1970s, one in four Native children nationwide were living in non-Native foster care, adoptive homes, or boarding schools. Many children experienced shattering emotional and physical harm by adults who mistreated them and tried to erase their cultural identity. Now, for the first time, they are being asked to share their stories.

The historic investigation by the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) represented a groundbreaking moment in the history of tribal-state relations. From 2013 to 2015, Native and non-Native commissioners travelled across Maine, gathering testimony about the agonizing impacts of the state’s child welfare practices on families in Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot tribal communities, which together comprise the Wabanaki people.

The TRC discovered that state power continues to be used to break up families, threatening the very existence of the Wabanaki people. Is it possible to right this wrong and turn around a broken child welfare system? Dawnland examines the immense challenges faced by the commission as it works toward truth, reconciliation, and the survival of all Indigenous peoples. By exploring what happened in Maine, the film also provides the opportunity to raise awareness about this nationwide issue, which continues to impact families and children.

WHAT: FREE preview screening of Dawnland followed by a community discussion facilitated using Open Space Technology

WHO: Presenters: Indie Lens Pop-Up, Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking, PBS Hawaiʻi, Hawaiʻi People’s Fund, Impact Hub HNL

WHEN: October 24, 2018 5:00 – 7:00 pm

For more information, visit:

About the Filmmakers

Adam Mazo (Co-Director/Producer) also co-directed and produced First Light (short doc, Camden, 2015). His hour-long film Coexist (Africa Movie Academy Award nominee, 2011), aired on public television and WORLD Channel. He is co-founder and director of Upstander Project, a filmmaking and learning collaborative which helps bystanders become upstanders through film and learning resources. Coexist, First Light, Dawnland and their companion resources are the cornerstone of Upstander Project’s flagship program, the Upstander Academy. Adam is a member of the core faculty at the weeklong inquiry-based summer professional development experience. Originally from Minnesota, Adam was transplanted to Sarasota, Florida, for high school and later graduated from the University of Florida. He now lives in Boston, Massachusetts with his wife and family.

Ben Pender-Cudlip (Co-Director/Director of Photography) also co-directed and served as director of photography on First Light. He has directed numerous short documentaries and contributed cinematography to independent documentaries, such as Tickling Giants, The Peacemaker, and Best and Most Beautiful Things. He was selected as a 2014 Points North Fellow at the Camden International Film Festival alongside Mr. Mazo. He graduated from Bard College at Simon’s Rock and lives in Boston.

About Indie Lens Pop-Up

Indie Lens Pop-Up is a neighborhood series that brings people together for film screenings and community-driven conversations. Featuring documentaries seen on PBS's Independent Lens, Indie Lens Pop-Up draws local residents, leaders and organizations together to discuss what matters most, from newsworthy topics, to family and relationships. Make friends, share stories, and join the conversation. Can't attend in person? Find Independent Lens on Facebook for information on our online Pop-Up events.

About Independent Lens

Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS Monday nights at 10:00 PM. The acclaimed series, with Lois Vossen as executive producer, features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by ITVS, the series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding from PBS, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more visit Join the conversation: and on Twitter @IndependentLens.

About Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking

Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking is a feminist nonprofit organization committed to achieving gender equity in filmmaking. We are a creative and safe space where film and media-makers connect, create, mentor, and inspire current and future generations of women to explore and pursue careers in the field of filmmaking. By providing access to a broad network of resources, education, leadership, and support, we create the conditions for women and girls to express themselves through the medium of film; raise awareness and visibility of women's and girls' work in film; and promote a diverse and positive representation of girls and women in media.​

About PBS Hawaiʻi

PBS Hawai‘i is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and Hawai‘i’s sole member of the trusted Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). We advance learning and discovery through storytelling that profoundly touches people’s lives. We bring the world to Hawai‘i and Hawai‘i to the world.

About Hawaiʻi Peopleʻs Fund

Hawaiʻi Peopleʻs Fund is a safe space for grassroots organizers and advocates of social change to convene, gather, and empower each other through network building and solidarity in our collective quest for social and economic justice. Funds raised through donor support and various fundraising activities throughout the year are redistributed to grassroots organizations through a community-driven and informed process.

About Impact Hub HNL

Impact Hub HNL is a gathering space for building community and making impact. We offer collaborative coworking, office, meeting and event space for all types of professionals and entrepreneurs.


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