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Sundance 2023: Joonam, A Still Small Voice, Bad Press | Festivals & Awards


There have been many documentaries about first responders within the age of Covid, however “A Still Small Voice” might be the perfect to look at them inside the body set of the Great Resignation. 

Lastly, “Bad Press,” Rebecca Landsberry-Baker and Joe Peeler’s searing have a look at how native politics are at odds with the liberty of the press within the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in Oklahoma, largely facilities itself on how the combat of 1 journalist is not only about her job, however the wave of change that might ripple all through all of Indian nation. 

Angel Ellis is a reporter for Mvskoke Media in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. On November eighth, 2018, the members of the National Council voted to repeal the Freedom of the Press Act, which itself had solely been ratified within the Nation in 2015. This repeal comes a 12 months after considered one of Angel’s fellow journalists unearthed a sexual harassment scandal on the council, and few months earlier than an upcoming election. 

The doc consists of footage of the repeal vote, in addition to a number of different necessary votes after one council member initiates a movement to codify Freedom of the Press into their structure (itself solely dates again to 1979). Landsberry-Baker and Peeler handle to seize—a number of occasions—that pit in your abdomen feeling that happens once you’re watching the votes roll in for an election that has steep ramifications relying on its end result.

Along with Angel and her numerous co-workers, in tracing the movement’s journey in the direction of codification, the filmmakers interview a number of candidates who’re operating for Principal Chief, in addition to residents who’re impressed to vote for the primary time with a purpose to make certain the movement passes. These interviews reveal simply how corrupt those that search to guide typically are, or later change into, in addition to how simply misinformation can unfold with out a reliable information supply. 

Although the documentary’s focus is solely on the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, its themes echo the assorted battles fought between the press and governments all through time. The Mvskoke Media story is a residing embodiment of “The press was to serve the ruled, not the governors,” Justice Hugo Black’s opinion on the 1971 Supreme Court resolution in New York Times Co. v. United States. That a Freedom of the Press codification for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation may very well be as massive of a landmark resolution that will have an effect on different Native American tribes is a driving drive for Angel, who simply desires journalists to have the ability to do their job reporting the information, good or unhealthy. 

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