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DAWNLAND Wins an Emmy® Award!

Written and distributed by UPSTANDER PROJECT

We are overjoyed to share the news that DAWNLAND is the winner of the Emmy® award for Outstanding Research!

L to R: Adam Mazo, Ben Pender-Cudlip, Esther Anne (Passamaquoddy), Tracy Rector (Choctaw/Seminole), Denise Altvater (Passamaquoddy), and Mishy Lesser moments after winning the Emmy®! (Photo courtesy Marc Bryan-Brown Photography)

Outstanding Research

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, co-director 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.”

L to R: Esther Anne, Tracy Rector, and Denise Altvater on stage during the Emmy® acceptance

Upstander Project learning director Dr. Mishy Lesser shares the Emmy® award for Outstanding Research with co-director Ben Pender-Cudlip, and editor Kristen Salerno. 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.”

Adam Mazo accepting the Emmy® award

In this moment when 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 the field of independent filmmakers who are telling vital underreported stories through ethical co-creation and collaborative practices for and with the communities being documented.

It is our hope that this accolade will help build more support for Wabanaki people and encourage non-Native people to see and discuss DAWNLAND and learn about the relationship between the taking of the land by settlers and the taking of the children by state child welfare officials. The taking of children continues.