WWAC presents Brattleboro Premiere of Sisters Rising July 8, at 118 Elliot Gallery

Windham World Affairs Council presents the Brattleboro premiere of Sisters Rising, the award-winning film by Brattleboro-area filmmakers Willow O’Feral and Brad Heck. 

As a part of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of Windham World Affairs Council, WWAC presents Sisters Rising which tackles the global issue of violence against indigenous women in a powerful feature documentary about six Native American women reclaiming personal & tribal sovereignty. Q&A with the filmmakers will follow the screening.

Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault than all other American women. 1 in 3 Native women report having been raped during her lifetime and 86% of the offenses are committed by non-Native men. These perpetrators exploit gaps in tribal jurisdictional authority and target Native women as ‘safe victims’. Sisters Rising follows six women who refuse to let this pattern of violence continue in the shadows: a tribal cop in the midst of the North Dakota oil boom, an attorney fighting to overturn restrictions on tribal sovereignty, an Indigenous women’s self-defense instructor, grassroots advocates working to influence legislative change and the author of the first anti-sex trafficking code to be introduced to a reservation’s tribal court. Their stories shine an unflinching light on righting injustice on both an individual and systemic level.

“The abhorrent violence that is a constant in the lives of Indigenous peoples impacts Indigenous women first. We are on the frontlines of an ongoing legacy of violent colonization, and it is vitally important that the world see and hear us.”

Co-producer Jaida Grey Eagle (Oglala Lakota),

Sisters Rising was directed and produced by Brattleboro filmmakers, and Marlboro College alumni Willow O’Feral and Brad Heck who respectively directed and co-produced the award-winning documentary Break the Silence: Reproductive & Sexual Health StoriesSisters Rising was coproduced by Jaida Grey Eager (Oglala Lakota), with executive producer Tantoo Cardinal (Cree/Metis). 

The event will be held Thursday, July 8, 2021, at 7:00 pm at 118 Elliot. Like all WWAC events, the screening of Sisters Rising is free and open to the public. A suggested $10 donation will be accepted at the door. Capacity is limited and masks are required at this event for all unvaccinated individuals. Pre-register for the film at www.eventbrite.com/e/wwac-presents-sisters-rising-tickets-159183306555 

Sisters Rising is the recipient of the Best Film Award – Women’s Voices Now Film Festival – 2021; Best Documentary Feature Award – American Indian Film Festival – 2020; Thaddeus Stevens Award – Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival – 2020; Honorable Mention Big Sky Award – Big Sky Film Festival – 2020.

“In a portrait of six brave participants who refuse to let a pattern of violence against Native women continue on in the shadows, this film shines an unflinching and ultimately uplifting light onto righting injustice on both an individual and systemic level.”

– Big Sky Jury Statement about Sisters Rising

Windham World Affairs Council is celebrating its 60th year bringing topics and issues of global importance to the people of Windham County with free, high-quality programming. WWAC is the smallest member of the national organization World Affairs Councils of America, and the only one run entirely by volunteers. Annual memberships support the operating costs of the WWAC. If you are interested in learning more about WWAC or becoming a member, find further information on the website: www.windhamworldaffairscouncil.org.

Join the Sisters Rising afterparty with Willow and Brad by becoming a member or renewing your WWAC membership at www.windhamworldaffairscouncil.org/membership-application/

WWAC presents Sisters Rising is sponsored in part by 118 Elliot, Mocha Joe’s, Creative Catalyst Communications, and Brattleboro Food Coop. 118 Elliot is a modern, multipurpose environment for the creative arts, educational talks, and personal events for up to 220 people. It is a fully ADA-accessible space in the heart of downtown Brattleboro. This unique, flexible space has a 2,000 sq. ft. main room and a smaller conference room or backstage which allows for easy transitions between presentations to social events. Mocha Joe’s is a specialty coffee company in Brattleboro, VT dedicated to great products to be shared with friends. Mocha Joe’s actively works to support Fair Trade and Direct Trade growers including their Cameroon Project which has grown out of this commitment. Creative Catalyst Communications is an integrated marketing communications firm in South Newfane, VT, acting as a catalyst to help businesses, municipalities, and non-profits tell their stories and build communities of all kinds. Creative Catalyst specializes in brand identity development, destination marketing, and placemaking projects. Brattleboro Food Coop is a community-owned, full-service grocery store and market with over 8,000 active shareholders, offering produce, local cheese, beer, and wine, grocery department, fresh-cut meat, fresh seafood, a bulk food section, frozen foods, dairy department, supplements, health and beauty, housewares, as well as a full-service deli offering handmade food from a team of cooks.


O’Feral and Heck are alumni of Marlboro College, formerly located in Marlboro, VT.

Sisters Rising – Willow O’Feral, Director/Producer

Willow O’Feral is the award-winning director, producer, and cinematographer of two feature documentary films.  Sisters Rising, a feature documentary about six Native American women fighting to restore personal and tribal sovereignty in the face of sexual violence against Indigenous women, premiered at the 2020 Big Sky Film Festival where it was nominated for the Big Sky Award. Sisters Rising has been awarded Best Documentary Feature 2020 at the American Indian Film Festival and Best Film Award at the Women’s Voices Now Festival 2021, and the Thaddeus Stevens Award at the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival. Her 2018 documentary Break the Silence: Reproductive & Sexual Health Stories was awarded La Frontera Queer Film Festival’s Best Documentary Feature Award and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England’s Choice Champion Award. Willow is a member of New Day Films, the longest-running distribution cooperative for independent documentary filmmakers in the US.

Sisters Rising – Brad Heck, Director/Producer

Brad Heck is a filmmaker, cinematographer, and educator. Sisters Rising is Brad’s directorial debut. He co-produced Willow O’Feral’s feature documentary Break the Silence: Reproductive & Sexual Health Stories, and is a co-founder of Haptic Pictures production company. Previously in his career, he worked as a cinematographer on commercial and independent projects, including documentaries featuring diverse visionaries such as Barack Obama, Howard Zinn, and Miranda July, and was awarded a regional Emmy for his cinematography work for BRIC Media in NY. Brad is currently the Director of the MFA in Film Program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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