We have finally reached a first rough cut of my new documentary film The Circle: Stories of Murder and Justice! It’s been a long time coming. I began exploring indigenous peacemaking circle work in 2007 with support from MassHumanities and LEF Moving Image Fund, as an exciting example of traditional culture being “repurposed” to address contemporary social issues. After observing several amazing programs in Oakland, Chicago, Boston, and Nogales, AZ, I met Janet Connors, was amazed by her story, and began filming with her in December 2012.
Several years and 60 hours of powerful film material later, I was feeling frustrated at constantly juggling this documentary work with freelancing, teaching, and non-profit media production. So I rented a little house on Cape Cod and my editor Shondra Burke and assistant Anna Graham holed up for a week last December to pull our first (five-hour!) assemblage together. It was so fun going back to old-school index cards to build our structure.
That really jump-started the process. We have now shaped our material into our first 90-minute rough cut of the feature film. We’ve also come up with a long list of short videos we can create to help schools, prisons, and other groups develop their restorative justice programs.
Full steam ahead!