Arts in the Valley host Kim McMillon interviews filmmaker Lenore Norrgard on her film American Ubuntu.
To listen to the interview with Lenore Norrgard, click onto the link:lenore-2
Below is a description of her film
“Because we are, I am”
How would you like to walk into a movie theater and see, on the screen, a drama that features people like you — people who are working to create a new world from the ashes of the old — and are succeeding?
Would you like to see an aging white man who, in his struggle to love, faces a past in which he was traumatized by racism — and who, in turn, hurt others with the same foul tool — and now is determined to make the past right?
Would you like to see a young artist who carries on the original, progressive tradition of hip hop, before it was hijacked by the cynical, exploitive music industry? A hip hop artist who also is an activist, and a shaman — and creates a brave new blend of these three practices to heal the world?
Would you like to see a former Black Panther, a widower who remains devoted to his visionary wife, long dead? A man who is a steadfast, loving father to his stepdaughter — and accepts her lesbianism?
Would you like to enter into a vibrant, sustainable and visionary communal village founded by profoundly diverse 1970s radicals — that still is thriving and growing after 20 years?
Welcome to my film – AMERICAN UBUNTU!
Showing in a theater near you – NOT.
That is to say, not YET.
Born of September 11
In the days following September 11, I curled up in a fetal position on my single futon in the kitchen-bedroom of my tiny apartment in San Francisco, asking myself, How do I respond to this, as a healer, as a radical, and as an artist?
How do we get out of this nightmare?
As I continued to repeat these questions to myself, day after day, I fell into a reverie, in which new characters, and the beginnings of a new story, were seeded in my imagination.
There are no new stories, some insist.
But I dare — like Adesimba, my hip hop shaman character — to blend my diverse practices and experiences, and thereby create something new.
How is it new? It is a healing story for the battered U.S. psyche.
Now, you know we need that!
What is a healing story?
A healing story is one in which we accompany characters on their journey, and through experiencing their struggles, setbacks and victories, our own wounded consciousness vicariously heals.
The tradition of healing through stories is as old as storytelling itself. In fact, healing was the original purpose of story making.
Shamans, our original healers, are our oldest storytellers. By conceiving and sharing a story of healing with a wounded patient, a template is created for the patient’s wound actually to heal — thus setting the process in motion.
So, telling a healing story is not new.
What is new about AMERICAN UBUNTU is that it creates a template for healing not only individual psyches, but for healing the collective consciousness of the American people.
A Healing Story for America
Together with an aging protagonist, we make the journey of facing his youth, where not only did he receive racist wounds, but he inflicted them, as well.
We experience his regret about his past actions, and his determination to make things right — a determination that grows out of a profound love that is stronger than his wounds.
We experience the obstacles, internal and external, his determination helps him to navigate. And we experience the liberation and healing that his love-based determination achieves — for himself, and for others.
Hence, this new, healing template: We can choose to face our past — both as individuals, and as a people — and, with the commitment to making the past right, we have the power to heal and transform, both ourselves and others.
Not only as individuals, but as a nation.
Accompanying the protagonist on his journey, we also experience another possible way we could choose to live in the U.S.: Connected with the Earth and with Spirit; in a sustainable, collective economy that cares for everyone; a self-governed society of equals, where conflict is engaged openly and in a context of love.
And so, another template is laid down: Namely, that it is possible for Americans to live in peace — not only with one another, but with the rest of the Earth, and with other peoples.
It takes a village to make this film
As I’ve begun looking for a producer and backers to bring this story to the screen, a friend commented, “It’s going to take a village to make this film.”
Yes. After all, ubuntu is a Zulu word meaning, Because we are, I am — and therein lies the film’s healing message.
Do you want to be part of the AMERICAN UBUNTU-making village?
Can you help with any of the following:
Donate a design for an AMERICAN UBUNTU web site?
Help me connect with filmmaker Todd Haynes?
Help me connect with Christine Vachon, Kasi Lemmons, Charles Burnett, John Sayles, Oprah Winfrey, Andrea Arnold, or Ang Lee?
Provide development funds?
Connect me with a visionary producer with a strong track record?
Connect me with a movie distribution genius?
Invest in the film, or raise money for the film?
I welcome your contribution, and would love to give you a credit in my film!
Lenore Norrgard, MA, CSC, has been creating new stories for decades, and has practiced filmmaking since 1998. She has practiced shamanic healing and teaching for nearly 20 years, and is known for pioneering the application of shamanic practices in healing social wounds.