Working titles. Documentary filmmaking takes the filmmaker on a journey of understanding the subject. Not only is it hard to name something that has an emerging identity, but at the same time the film-to-be needs a shorthand way to talk about it. Which is why during the course of filmmaking a documentary can have several working titles.
Titling can feel heaven sent – or – challenging. For myself, Invitation to the Muse was named in my first flash of envisioning this film. The Danish Solution was titled – with the input of a dear friend – the day before the film was premiered. Last Rights came during the process with the help of a member of the production team.
Case in point. During the initial stages of this film about Native American woman looking to their heritages to find health for their communities, it was called Native Healing Journeys. Descriptive, eh? But cumbersome and maybe prosaic as well. After awhile and with much reflection we renamed it TURN. Now this title surely captured a sense of changing direction, but it could mean staying in place and looking at all the vantage points. TURN certainly didn’t emphasize reclaiming the past which is what this film is all about.
Which brings us to RETURN – the new title for this film. A film that focuses on the fact that people everywhere are losing their connection to nature and the earth. Our nature-deficit disorder threatens our sustainability as a species, yet it’s hard to reverse this insidious trend. While most Americans are willingly seduced by the comforts of modern society leading them away from their ancestor’s ways, Native Americans were torn from their land, their modes of subsistence, and their heritages.
RETURN looks at the work being done today by a few American Indian women reclaiming traditions in order to bring health to their communities. Their experiences hold the key to understanding how we separated from mother earth and what we can do to reconcile with her. This documentary film tells the stories of these activist women making the trek back from unhealthy commodities and fast food to indigenous foodstuffs. As they reconnect with the earth, they are reawakening a deeper connection to their traditional cultures and healing the rifts between daily lives, health, and heritage.
RETURN inspires people across the country yearning to reclaim more natural ways and a higher quality of life.