“Dawnland” Wins Emmy Award for Outstanding Research

Published September 29, 2019

DAWNLAND will stream live globally in celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day on October 14

BOSTON — The Upstander Project film DAWNLAND won the Emmy® award for Outstanding Research at the 40th Annual News and Documentary Awards this week. DAWNLAND composer Jennifer Kreisberg was also nominated for Outstanding Music at the ceremony hosted by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City on Tuesday, September 24th . Accepting the Emmy® award, codirector and producer Adam Mazo said, “DAWNLAND is a story for the Wabanaki people – the people of the dawn land. Our film presents testimony from Wabanaki people who are being separated from their families, nations, tribes, and communities by Euro-American settlers like me. The greatest recognition belongs to the Wabanaki people who have lived that experience and showed immense courage in telling their stories or holding them in their hearts.”

In DAWNLAND (PBS Independent Lens 2018), viewers witness Wabanaki people revealing their stories to a historic truth commission. The commission’s headline finding is that cultural genocide persists in Maine because the child welfare system continues to remove Native children from their homes and tribes at an alarmingly high rate.

Maine-Wabanaki REACH created the truth commission, both they and the community are at the heart of DAWNLAND. Wabanaki film participants and leaders from REACH, Denise Altvater and Esther Anne, joined the filmmakers on stage in accepting the award. Maine-Wabanaki REACH board member Esther Anne (Passamaquoddy) said, “The recognition of Wabanaki people through DAWNLAND helps Maine-Wabanaki REACH in our work to engage Wabanaki and non-Native people in learning history, understanding intergenerational trauma, and creating paths to healing.”

DAWNLAND co-director Ben Pender-Cudlip said, “The award truly honors everybody who shared their stories with the truth and reconciliation commission. We want to uplift Maine-Wabanaki REACH, who carry the responsibility of seeing through the TRC recommendations, and working toward restoration to Wabanaki and non-Native communities.” Pender-Cudlip, Mazo, Upstander Project learning director Dr. Mishy Lesser, and editor Kristen Salerno share the Emmy® award for Outstanding Research. Lesser said, “This award applauds researchers everywhere, those who scour ignored documents and transcripts for clues that tell a fuller story. We kept digging until we found archival images and hidden information, and appreciate the Academy’s recognition of our effort.”

“In this moment where the notion of fake news seems to dominate it is especially heartening to be honored for the years of journalistic research and fact-checking that our team put into DAWNLAND. We are proud to be part of growing and strengthening field of independent filmmakers who are telling vital underreported stories through ethical cocreation and collaborative practices for and with the communities being documented,” impact producer Tracy Rector (Choctaw/Seminole) added.

A special free global livestream of DAWNLAND will celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday October 14th at 3pm EDT. The filmmakers will be present for a Q & A.

RSVP here

Details for all upcoming screenings here: https://dawnland.org/screenings DAWNLAND can be purchased here:

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