independent lens

Frequently Asked Questions About “Kind Hearted Woman”

Why did FRONTLINE and Independent Lens choose to present Kind Hearted Woman?

The program looks at critical issues including sexual abuse, domestic violence, alcoholism, and the struggles to improve oneself and the lives of our families. FRONTLINE continues its commitment to deep investigative journalism with this program by following the story on the reservation, in the courts, and in Washington. Independent Lens believes that powerful, intimate, character-driven stories like Kind Hearted Woman help viewers better understand today’s complex world by taking them to places they wouldn’t otherwise see and encountering people they wouldn’t otherwise meet.

Tell me about the filmmaker, David Sutherland.

David Sutherland is a lauded independent filmmaker whose focus is creating documentary portraits. His films include Country Boys, The Farmer’s Wife, Out of Sight and Paul Cadmus: Enfant Terrible at 80.

The Baltimore Sun once wrote of Sutherland: “No one makes documentaries the way David Sutherland does … the documentarian’s methods more closely resemble an ethnographer’s than a television director’s. He steeps himself in the minute details, emotions and struggles of his subjects’ lives, trying to see the world through their eyes. Never mind closing the distance between viewer and object viewed, this filmmaker all but obliterates that distinction through his own intense identification and empathy with the people he films.”

For more information about the filmmaker, visit his website.

Why did Robin decide to participate in the film?

Below is a statement from Robin Charboneau.

I was introduced to David through my local victim service program director Linda Thompson. I was terrified that entire week before he came to the Spirit Lake Reservation, because there were only two other people who knew parts of my story at the time. One was my therapist and the other was a person who called me her “sister.” David was the third person I had ever told about what had happened to me throughout my childhood.

As a result of working on the film and opening up my heart, I began to grow as a mother and as a woman. I sobered up, and I began to speak out. I got to reflect on “Who am I?”. I saw my faults, weaknesses and worked through them. I found my own strength the more and more I told my story. My children also wanted to tell their story as they saw and felt the honor of speaking out to people who listened, who cared, and most importantly, who BELIEVED in them.

Everything I put in place for myself, I also put in place for my children, as they need to find their voice and know they mattered as well. I have family meetings to discuss changes in our lives such as, new job, new home, school, etc. I started this to build a strong foundation for them after they were returned to my care. They saw me grow and began to grow themselves. They would talk to David about whatever was going on in their lives at the time; he is a very important part of our family. He may never admit it but he saved a woman and two children. Just by listening.

My hope is that as many Native and non-Native Americans as possible see this film about overcoming the trauma of abuse, chemical dependency, and sexual assault. By sharing my story, I want to let people know YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

How are Robin and her family doing now? Does Robin have primary custody of her children yet?

Robin and Darren divorced after the filming of Kind Hearted Woman. She has primary custody of both Darian and Anthony, and both children are doing great. Robin is proud that her kids have grown up to be humble, honorable young adults. Anthony will enter high school next year and Darian will be going off to college.

Tell us more about Darian and Anthony’s participation in the film.

Robin communicated closely with her children about making Kind Hearted Woman before, during and after production and would not have agreed to participate if her children were not actively and enthusiastically engaged in the film. Both Darian and Anthony continue to strongly support this decision.

How are Darian and Anthony doing?

Both Darian and Anthony are doing great! Darian is looking forward to attending college in Wyoming. She’s also pursuing a childhood dream of riding horses and training to barrel race. Anthony relishes in the fact that he is now the tallest member of the family! He also wants to attend college in the future and hopes to one day become an auto technician.

How can I get involved with the issues addressed in the film?

There are many ways to get involved. Here are some ideas:

Explore volunteer opportunities with a local domestic violence agency or sexual assault prevention program. For more information, visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.

Get educated and raise awareness about violence against women and girls. For more information, visit Futures Without Violence.

If I am a survivor of domestic violence or sexual abuse or know someone who is, how can I get help and support?

If you or someone you know is feeling threatened or experiencing abuse, contact service providers at one of these national hotlines for confidential support. Advocates can refer you to local resources in your state or territory.

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
Advocates are available for victims and anyone calling on their behalf to provide crisis intervention, safety planning, information, and referrals to agencies in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Assistance is available in English and Spanish, with access to more than 170 languages through interpreter services.

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
Among its programs, the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline. This nationwide partnership of more than 1,100 local rape treatment hotlines provides victims of sexual violence with free, confidential services around the clock.

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
Serving the U.S., its territories, and Canada, the hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week with professional crisis counselors who, through interpreters, can provide assistance in 170 languages.

National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474 or 1-800-331-8453 (TTY) or text “loveis” to 77054
The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline provides 24/7 phone, text, and chat services designed for young people involved in dating abuse relationships as well as concerned friends, parents, teachers, clergy, law enforcement, and service providers.

A full resource list and hotlines for survivors of domestic and/or sexual abuse can be found here.

Where can I find out more about what is happening at Spirit Lake?

Sarah Childress, a reporter for FRONTLINE, has been following and reporting on the latest news from Spirit Lake as well how violence against women effects Native American communities and reservations at large. You can read her reports here on FRONTLINE’s website for Kind Hearted Woman.

How can I watch the film again? Can I purchase the film?

You can watch the film on the FRONTLINE and Independent Lens websites. You can purchase a DVD of Kind Hearted Woman at shoppbs.org.

How can I contact Robin to invite her to speak to my local organization?

Please email frontline@pbs.org and we’ll help you get in touch with Robin.

I’d like to help Robin and her family. How can I make a donation?

The filmmakers have established a fund in Robin’s name. Checks can be sent to:
Robin Poor Bear Fund
c/o Bremer Bank
345 4th Avenue
International Falls, MN
56649

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