At Standing Rock, a fiery street medic, a Lakota matriarch, a non-binary Appalachian, and a youth leader join the resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline. They each discover their power within a movement that echoes worldwide - but as each returns home determined to break the cycle of intergenerational trauma and abuse, they realize their battle has just begun.
Sara is a filmmaker and photojournalist with a passion for telling stories of the underdog and the underbelly of society. She is an alum of the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism's documentary program. She’s worked with the Guardian, CIR, Fusion, and AJ+.
Tracy Rector is a mixed race (Choctaw/Seminole) filmmaker, curator, community organizer, co-founder of Longhouse Media and a 2016 Stranger Genius. She has made over 400 short films, and is currently in production of her fifth feature documentary. As co-producer of the award-winning film Teachings of the Tree People, producer of March Point, co-director of Clearwater, and director of Ch'aak' S'aagi; Rector has developed an awareness and sensitivity to the power of media and film as a modern storytelling tool. Her work has been featured on Independent Lens, Cannes Film Festival, ImagineNative, National Geographic, Toronto International Film Festival, the Seattle Art Museum and in the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian. Tracy is a Firelight Media Fellow, a WGBH Producer Fellow, Sundance Institute Lab Fellow, Tribeca All Access Grantee, and is the recipient of the Horace Mann Award for her work in utilizing media for social justice.
Jonathan is a filmmaker who believes the camera is a tool that can shake the foundations of power. He focuses the lens on people building a better world. An alum of UW-Madison and doc|UWM, he's been a Senior Producer of The Laura Flanders Show and worked with Fusion, AJ+, The Kennedy Center Honors, The Guardian, and Voces de la Frontera.
Kawahara began her career as a writer/producer in San Francisco. Her film credits include T-Rex; City of Borders; Yank Tanks; and Of Civil Wrongs and Rights: The Fred Korematsu Story. T-Rex won the Audience Award at the San Francisco Film Festival and aired on PBS’ Independent Lens. City of Borders garnered the Teddy Audience Award at the Berlin Film Festival and aired on PBS. Yank Tanks was voted Best Documentary at the 2002 Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival. Of Civil Wrongs and Rights won an Emmy for Best Editing and Directing at the 2001 National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences News and Documentary Emmy Awards, was shortlisted for the 2001 Academy Awards, and aired nationwide on P.O.V. Kawahara was also consulting editor on Semper Fi: Always Faithful, which won the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival’s best editing award and was shortlisted for the 2012 Academy Awards.
Romin Lee Johnson
Romin is a documentary photographer and filmmaker, and is an alum of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He was the school's inaugural recipient of the Marlon T. Riggs Fellowship in Documentary Filmmaking. He divides his time between the Bay Area and rural Minnesota with his wife and their three crazy boys.
When he isn't shooting documentary work, he shoots weddings and portraits on 35mm film.
Leaf has a penchant for being in two places at once. He can be found with a camera around his neck, a drone close by, and constantly thinking about how his next video will seamlessly flow. He sees little stories everywhere and prides himself on capturing them and making them glow. Aside from filming and editing wedding videos, Leaf has worked on numerous commercial and documentary pieces, has a love for meeting new people, seeing new places, perfect waves, cats, magic tricks, and his friends and family.
The Sacred & The Snake focuses on how the experience of collective trauma, cultural self-discovery, and non-violent direct action catalyzed an array of other resistance movements across the country. While much of the public accepts the media narrative that Standing Rock was a failure, these protagonists defiantly show otherwise. The resistance camps lit a fire in each one of them and set them on a new path, while reawakening a global awareness of the environment and Indigenous sovereignty.
We are a non-Native filmmaking team working alongside a prolific group of Indigenous producers and advisors that are holding us accountable and keeping us in check as we embark on this process. We are committed to working within the #decolonizedocs movement and guidelines. Everyday we learn more about how we can humble ourselves in this process and amplify Native voices to guide the project.