Tag Archives: Washington DC

Shouting Secrets:  Producer/Director Korinna Sohringer
Chaske Spencer (Wesley), Q’orianka Kilcher (Pinti), Tyler Christopher (Tushka), Gil Birmingham (Cal), Tonantzin Carmelo (Caitlyn), Tantoo Cardinal (June), Connor Fox (Brody)

at IMDB 
Review by Russ Imrie, February, 2013 IMDB

An excellent family film about an artist who leaves his more conservative, ethnically traditional family to make it big in America and his return at a time of family crisis. Sort of. But wait. This sounds like the classic narrative of immigration to America. Irish or Italian? A Scarface or a Sugar? Not. In this film America moved THERE, onto the land of the family of June, an Apache matriarch living on the San Carlos reservation. Just a few years ago, film pushed a myth that was a little different.

Tumbleweed (1953 film)

Tumbleweed (1953 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shouting Secrets sets that to one side and moves on. Spencer plays Wesley, writer [maybe] getting his big break and Tyler Christopher is the brother Tushka who comes to fists with Wesley over his ambitions in remote cities. This thread, the conflict between the parochial pressure to stay local and the ambition to succeed “out there” in mainstream American culture is well done, with a sub-thread of Wesley’s dealings (or misdealings?) with his publisher.

The film brings in bits of most issues on the minds of  Native Americans’ daily lives. Not everything, but enough to resonate and bring a smile.

Then a crisis strikes June and all those around her. The characters shift and manuever and adapt

Media Seen Too blog is solely the creation of Russ Imrie, an American Indian DC area resident. I also blog on tech and politics at supTweet and contribute occasionally to the China Daily Mail blog


We Women Warriors, Director: Nicole Karsin , with DorisLudis, and Flor Ilva

Russ Imrie, February, 2013

We Women Warriors is a compelling documentary that follows three Colombian indigenous women, DorisLudis, and Flor Ilva, as they grow and lead their villages and communities through the dangerously fraught conflicts in their midst. Available on DVD at link below.

(in recognition of International Women’s Day – the DC Independent Film Festival is presenting the film in a free showing March 8 in Washington DC – tickets required but free – and Shouting Secrets is playing with its all-star Native American cast Sunday March 10 – with cast members present)

This is a film for seriously interested thinkers and followers of indigenous women’s struggles and leadership. The Colombian army, paramilitaries and rebels all orchestrate actions and violence that impact the civilian community and have lethal consequences for the three women. They then emerge to lead non-violent actions and national media activity and bring the glare of public opinion on the malignant forces that use their territories as a battle ground.

I viewed this film some time ago in a room filled with a female Native audience in North America. The opinion was that it was awesome and very compelling. Children, murdered spouses, state and criminal violence, all sounded a chord with the audience, ranging in age from 16 to elders.

online resources and more information


English version in following post


Poster from Wikipedia – “Shodo Girls” as distributed in Japan

At Wikipedia:







Shodo Girls (sketchy synopsis) at IMDB?
Review by Russ Imrie Feb 2, 2013

Poster from Wikipedia – “Shodo Girls” as distributed in Japan

At Wikipedia:

Production of: Nippon Television Network Corporation and Warner Bros.


I was fortunate to view Shodo Girls at the Japanese Information and Cultural Center (Embassy of Japan) on 18th Street in Washington DC.
At first, the cultural milieu seems stilted. But then you “get it” and the terseness evolves into an appreciation of the film’s framework—the drive, the community dynamics, the art of Shodo (Japanese Calligraphy), and something everyone can relate to, a cherished hometown and its people.

The true storyline actually evolved into an annual Shodo competition among schools from across Japan. Here’s a YouTube video of a recent one.

Riko Narumi as Satoko Hayakawa (早川 里子?) leads the way, hard-headed and driven. Her breakthrough moment comes as the school calligraphy club shrinks and is losing members, many upset with her style. The community’s tradition as a center for the arts of calligraphy and premium, hand-made paper are at risk as business slows in the general business slowdown of 2008-2009.

Insight and the contributions of the goofy substitute club mentor, family and friends in the paper trade, some less-straight-laced club members, and ultimately the city’s wholehearted appreciation of the art unleash her. The final scenes of the messy, musical competition that takes place at the high school gym had the audience in tears. It’s a good one.

Welcome to my media blog. This blog is based in the Washington DC area. So, much of the content has a political/public affairs bent to it.

A lifelong love of reading and self-improvement motivate my work here. In a world that grows more deeply intertwined through culture, commerce and technological development by the day, it’s important that people acquire knowledge on the issues facing civilization, develop it, and share it.

the Media Seen Too Blog…

Is the work of Russ Imrie, an IT freelancer living in the Washington DC Area. A registered American Indian and veteran, interests herein are widespread especially around historically themed film and writing. Also technical/nerdie stuff at the supTweet Blog and is a new contributor to China Daily Mail (search Canada and Oil there).

copyright 2012, 2013 and forever, for that matter, Russell Imrie

Pakistan reels along in chaos, says Pamela Constable in Playing With Fire, a digest of her penetrating experiences in today’s Pakistan. Shrines, Madrassas, Karachi to Kashmir, she analyzes what makes Pakistan such a failing state, or if it indeed has an actual future for it hybrids forces that transcend its short timeline.

Playing With Fire – Pakistan at War With Itself book cover

Constable, Pamela. Playing With Fire: Pakistan at War With Itself. Random House, 2011.

The arrogance of power, whether state or culturally enforced, is all that holds the state of Pakistan together and in shreds.

That and an option many Pakistanis choose out of desperation–Islamic Fundamentalism, i.e.–the Taliban and its draconian social order that uses extreme violence to enforce its edicts and is absolutely against Western understandings of women’s rights.

Pakistan bomb kills children near Shia processionBBC online November 24, 2012 (7 killed)

Taliban bomber kills Pakistan Shia marchers” BBC online November 22, 2012 (23 killed) 

Afghan funeral bomb: Suicide attacker ‘kills 25’ in east” BBC online September 4, 2012 (Afghanistan funeral attack)

Coupled with the denial many Pakistanis seem (according to Constable) express in Lahore to Karachi that the butchery by Moslem Taliban of the Moslem Pakistani population is indigenous, and not from some plot by the West, Pakistan can’t seem to get around to solutions of real, 21st-century problems the nation faces. Issues like rule of law, corruption, energy, water, housing, abject poverty, and education (some of the world’s lowest literacy rates exist in Pakistan’s tribal belt).

This fundamental denial of science, a vital democracy, rational thought and its appeal to undereducated or illiterate populations (which we see even in the US and evident in the recent re-elections) has a death grip on Pakistan’s hopes to reform and grow.

Names and players, from Judges to impoverished farming families, have their stories told here. Murders, “tactical” prosecutions to gain property, pervasive cynicism at every level–an intricate scenario emerges in Constable’s work that exposes the incredible (and depressing) ecology of layer upon layer of corruption and faith in a tortured land. I think this a must-read for those interested in a comprehensive survey of present-day Pakistan and its role in history.

Of particular interest (and explored in my developing post on “tactical” stereotyping in media and civilization) is hackneyed nugget from the “Great Game*” era in a description of the fear wielded by Pakistan’s infamous Inter-Service Intelligence Service, or ISI:

“p. 111; The Agency cultivates a reputation for omniscience, omnipresence, and impunity, and it floats rumors of horrific punishments in secret prisons, where men are said to be thrown into dungeons and tormented by rats, snakes, or starving dogs…”

Of course this horrible fate echoes from the ghastly ordeal of Stoddart and Conolly, two English adventurers who were thrown into the Black Pit of Bukhara in the 19th century. The torture, in Stoddart’s case, went on for years  before Connolly arrived to rescue him. Then on the orders of the Amir, they were both beheaded in a public spectacle after digging their own graves. Déjå Vu, anyone? The fear and bafflement of the Euro-American intelligentsia then lives on and is an undercurrent in this work today, albeit it comes from a frank and close-to-the pulse exploration. Pakistan today is living some of the outflow from ancient tectonic forces unleashed by arrogant empires. Now it’s dragged out again by an intelligent non-fiction author, perhaps unconsciously. I hope Pakistan’s future overcomes the narrative. It passes on and on like Cultural Herpes – even incorporated into the elevated atmosphere of  academic think tanks and reports, such as this one from the Center For International Media Assistance.

the Media Seen Too Blog…

Is the work of Russ Imrie, an IT freelancer living in the Washington DC Area. A registered American Indian and veteran, interests herein are widespread especially around historically themed film and writing. Also technical/nerdie stuff at the supTweet Blog and is a new contributor to China Daily Mail.

copyright 2012 and forever, for that matter, Russell Imrie

American University updates media managers and libraries on latest law and best practices on lawful use of copyrighted materials for legitimate purposes.

Russ Imrie October 2013

Lawyers, authors, journalists, and librarians are among the often misinformed on the extent law and practice supports legitimate, good-faith inclusion of copyrighted material in today’s digital environment.

It sounds crazy, but copyright lawyers will, without actually reading or viewing a given complete media resource as to its need to include specific releases or permissions, will just say “no, get permissions and come back.” This is often unnecessary under law and discourages the nurturing intent of the “fair use” principal.

Librarians, out of an uninformed concern of infringement penalties, suits, etc. will decline to undertake a project or advise someone who asks (of course!) the librarian if using a resource or image is ok to stop. Often the librarian at a university is the go-to authority on these questions. This has a wide impact on authors and researchers.

When I continue this post I’ll discuss expert information in this easily-cloned world of media and publications.

Meanwhile. check out the Center for Social Media at American University in Washington DC where guidelines are available for download. Strong on film and library issues, the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic Research Libraries, Code of Best Practices in Fair Use fir Media Literacy Education, and the Documentary Filmmaker’s Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use should be read and used to guide your projects.

l. to r. Brandon Butler ( Association of Research Libraries), unidentified, Peter Jazzi (Prof of Law AU), Patricia Aufderheide (Prof AU School of Communication) - photo Russ Imrie

l. to r. Brandon Butler ( Association of Research Libraries), unidentified, Peter Jaszi (Prof of Law AU), Patricia Aufderheide (Prof AU School of Communication) – photo Russ Imrie


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