I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the World Premiere of director Karen Lynn Weinberg’s debut documentary KEEP TALKING at the Vancouver International Film Festival, October 5th and the great privilege to interview the director and team on our radio show , the World Poetry Cafe on CFRO 100.5 FM. Sadly the station had a technical error and did not archive the show. I am hoping it can be corrected.
KEEP TALKING has the power to reach out to all the peoples of the world, First Nations and others concerned about the many endangered languages of the world. When the language goes, the culture follows since it is entwined, leaving the people with emptiness. The film shows that knowledge and learning create empowerment! A must see documentary. http://www.keeptalkingthefilm.com/
It follows four Alaska Native women fighting to save Kodiak Alutiiq, an endangered language now spoken by less than 40 remaining fluent Native Elders. Their small community travels to remote Afognak Island to start teaching kids Alutiiq. At the camp, Sadie, a troubled teen, is inspired to begin learning the language and dances of her ancestors. Over the next 5 years the women overcome historical and personal traumas to find joy and hope in the revitalization of their cultural heritage.
The film is the directorial debut of film editor and producer Karen Lynn Weinberg, who previously worked on films including Spilled Water (2014), Racing Dreams (2009), and Frozen River (2008). After traveling to Kodiak, Alaska in February of 2012 as a film instructor, Weinberg learned that her editing class was made up of culture bearers working to preserve their endangered Native language. A filmmaker with a passion for language, Weinberg was thrilled when the Native Village of Afognak consulted with Elders and agreed to allow her to film their first attempt at a language immersion camp. As filming continued over the next five years, Weinberg immersed herself in Alaska Native history, with a focus on Kodiak Alutiiq history. She studied endangered language revitalization challenges, methodologies and rewards.
UNESCO estimates that at least 43% of the estimated 6000 languages spoken in the world are endangered. National Geographic estimates that one language dies every 2 weeks. The tide of globalization, assimilation and intolerance continues to erode the linguistic landscape of our modern world. It is Weinberg’s hope that this film brings greater empathy and understanding to the unique challenges and surprising rewards of language revitalization in action.
KEEP TALKING is directed and produced by Karen Lynn Weinberg, executive produced by Justine Nagan, Gordon Quinn and Betsy Steinberg, co-produced by Trish Dalton, Rachel Rozycki and Kari Sherod. Cinematography by Nara Garber, edited by Lesley Kubistal. Produced by Ten Trees Productions, Kartemquin, and Vision Maker Media. www.tentreesproductions.com