PBS Beyond the Box

January 24, 2011 | Lost Sparrow |

Letter from Washington: Lost Sparrow Director Examines Family History.

Monday night’s screening was a stark reminder of the powerful and emotional response that Lost Sparrow can generate. The film screened to a full house at D.C.’s Letelier Theater, in an event co-sponsored by the National Children’s Alliance and Docs in Progress, a D.C.-based organization that promotes independent filmmaking.

After the closing credits rolled, I took questions and comments from the audience. One audience member, clearly overcome by the film, made a show of storming out. ”Come on, honey. Let’s go!” were the last words he shouted as he left the theater.

After nearly two years of showing Lost Sparrow at film festivals, conferences and college campuses, I’ve become accustomed to strong reactions and tough questioning. The film is my investigation into the 1978 deaths of my adopted Crow Indian brothers, Bobby and Tyler. As I probe the tragedy that took my two brothers, I uncover personal and unsettling events that occurred in my family. And, because everyone’s family faces struggles and challenges of its own, the film resonates with each individual viewer in a unique way.

I was gratified that my sister Lana came up from North Carolina to attend the screening. She is the biological sister of Bobby and Tyler, and plays a prominent role in Lost Sparrow. Patty Talahongva, a Hopi journalist, served as MC for the event. She has been a strong supporter of the film, and interviewed me for additional online video content that accompanies Lost Sparrow‘s broadcast premiere on Independent Lens.

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