MARCH POINT
THE FILMTHE MAKING OFTHE FILMMAKERSGET INVOLVEDTALKBACK
Around Independent Lens

The Film

You must have flash 8 or above to view video.

Travis, Nick and Cody have been friends almost all their lives, growing up on the Swinomish Reservation in northwest Washington. When they find themselves in trouble with drugs and alcohol, the teens are offered an opportunity to participate in Native Lens, Longhouse Media’s filmmaking program. Figuring it’s better than spending afternoons in drug court, they dream about making a film with car crashes and rap music. But they are asked to make a documentary about the impact of two oil refineries on their tribal community instead.

MARCH POINT filmmakers Tracy Rector and Annie Silverstein bring together filmmaking and alternative education through their collaboration with the three young Native Americans. The film assignment sends the boys down a path of historical investigation. Like many young people, Travis, Nick and Cody didn’t know much about their ancestors’ history. By interviewing tribal elders, they learn that most of their land was taken away by the federal government in the Treaty of Point Elliott in 1855, leaving the Swinomish with basic health care, some fishing rights and a small reservation. President Ulysses S. Grant took more land in 1870, a move the tribe considers illegal.

The boys learn that the people now known as the Swinomish flourished on the bounty of the coast of the Pacific Northwest for thousands of years. Clams, crabs and fish were plentiful, and as the tribal saying goes, “When the tide’s out, the table’s set.” But when in the 1950s, Shell Oil built two refineries on land once owned by the tribe, chemicals made their way into the water, tainting the seafood and shellfish that the Swinomish eat daily. And just as the toxins in the water seeped into the food, poverty, drugs and alcohol have seeped into the lives of the families who live there. Ambivalent environmental ambassadors at the onset of the filmmaking venture, the boys awaken to the destruction these refineries have wrought in their communities. Grappling with their assignment through humor, sarcasm and a candid self-knowledge, they begin to experience the need to understand and tell their own stories and to grasp the power of this process to change their lives and give back to their community. MARCH POINT follows the boys’ journey on their path from childhood to adulthood as they come to understand themselves, their tribe and the environmental threat to their people.

Update

Filmmaker update: October, 2008:

The three boys have since had many changes in their lives since June 2008, including both struggles and successes. Currently they are all working towards completing their senior year of high school by January 2009 and both Nick and Cody are studying to take the SATs because they have decided to go to college. Nick is interested in attending a liberal arts program in New Mexico at the Institute of American Indian Arts and Cody is looking towards applying to film school.

Both Annie and Tracy are running an active program helping more youth use digital media to tell their stories. Since January 2005 they have worked with 950 students, including Nick, Travis and Cody, and look forward to the day when these students will become teachers in the Native Lens program. The next big project for the youth at Swinomish is to produce a monthly television show for the tribal television station and for a non-reservation cable station in Seattle called SCAN-TV.


Related Links and Resources

MARCH POINT
Explore the film’s official site and learn more about the film and the filmmakers.

Longhouse Media and Native Lens
Learn how Pacific Northwest Native youth are expressing their culture and contemporary Native experiences through video stories and digital media.

The Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission
Get the facts about the commission tasked with upholding the tribes' right as co-managers of the natural resources in Washington State, especially pertaining to salmon, the oversight of biologically sound fisheries and the clean up of Puget Sound waterways.

Native American Public Telecommunications (NAPT)
Check out a major source of media for and about Native American people, directed and produced by Native artists. NAPT supports the creation, promotion and distribution of Native public media.

University of Washington Libraries: American Indians of the Pacific Northwest Collection
Immerse yourself in the history of the American Indians of the Pacific Northwest with 2,300 original photographs as well as over 1,500 pages from the Annual Reports of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior from 1851 to 1908.


Read about the making of MARCH POINT >>

Share your thoughts on the film in Talkback >>


Tell a Friend top


Stay Connected

Do You Like Us? Then 'Like' Us! Come join us on Facebook and talk about the films, meet your fellow fans, and participate in a rich, ongoing conversation about Stuff That Matters.

Connect with us »

Check Your Local Listings
Find out when Independent Lens is showing on your local PBS station, and explore this season's line-up.

Check out the TV Schedule »


Community Cinema

Community Cinema is a national civic engagement initiative featuring free monthly screenings of Independent Lens films.

Learn more »

Explore films

Browse films by title or topic and learn about related interactive features.

Explore films »

Video

Find short-form and full-length video from the Independent Lens catalog.

Visit Independent Lens at PBS Video »

The Making Of

Explore the blog for behind-the-scenes interviews with filmmakers and more.

Visit the blog »


Independentlens Newsletter
Your email address:


Home | The Film | The Making Of | The Filmmakers | Get Involved | Talkback | Film Credits | Get the DVD | Site Credits watch preview MARCH POINT home page