Southern Circuit of Independent Filmmakers
We Will Speak: A Documentary
Apr 09, 2024
All Southern Circuit Events will include a screening and discussion with one of the filmmakers and in some cases a community panel.
The Cherokee language is deeply tied to Cherokee identity; yet generations of assimilation efforts by the U.S. government and anti-Indigenous stigmas have forced the Tri-Council of Cherokee tribes to declare a State of Emergency for the language in 2019. While there are 430,000 Cherokee citizens in the three federally recognized tribes, fewer than an estimated 1,500 fluent speakers remain—the majority of whom are elderly. The covid pandemic has unfortunately hastened the course. Language activists, artists, and the youth must now lead the charge of urgent radical revitalization efforts to help save the language from the brink of extinction.
This feature-length documentary was shot on location in Oklahoma and North Carolina throughout 2019-2022; through intimate interviews, vérité footage of community gatherings, and extensive archival materials, the film explores the nuanced ways the Cherokee language is vital to maintaining a unique cultural identity and relationship with the world. The collaborative project is also meant to act as an empowering agent of hope for Indigenous voices despite enduring inequity and oppression.
The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers connects independent filmmakers with communities throughout the South for screenings and conversations around stories, important topics, and the art of filmmaking. Since Southern Circuit’s inception in 1975, hundreds of filmmakers from around the country have toured, sharing their work and perspectives with over one hundred Screening Partner communities across the South.
Southern Circuit Screening Partner organizations host touring filmmakers and present screenings with Q&As and other engagements such as class visits, meet-and-greets, and workshops. Screening Partners include universities, community arts centers, municipalities, historic cinemas, places of worship, and more, serving diverse audiences of all ages.