Meg Griffiths and Scott Faris (co-directors) are the documentary filmmakers behind Universe Creative, a storytelling agency committed to social impact video storytelling. Former journalists, teachers, and nonprofit leaders, Meg and Scott have collaborated on short films for the past 10 years with an emphasis on education, rural communities, and Indigenous issues. They frequently collaborate with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other national foundations and nonprofits, and are currently in post-production on their first feature-length film set in southern West Virginia.
‘Into the Circle’ demonstrates the significant, personal impact that education models based on developing whole children can produce. Through the intimate account of a family courageous enough to share their struggles with a broad audience, the film offers an alternative to our contemporary schooling model by illustrating that physical and mental wellness are meaningfully connected to learning, that a child’s culture and language can be used to unlock profound growth in understanding and maturity, and that a school should be a true community for students and their families rather than simply a place children go to acquire knowledge. This is a story that can spur necessary conversations about the evolution of public education in the 21st century. Since 2013, the Native American Community Academy has operated at the site of the former Albuquerque Indian Boarding School, educating students from over 60 tribes. Most importantly, ‘Into the Circle’ is a testament to the virtues of a family from a region of the country – South Dakota’s reservations – that is characterized almost exclusively by narratives of poverty, alcoholism, and victimization. Though the Hollow Horns are touched by these issues, the film makes a deliberate effort to frame their story through an asset-based lens, showing how they found agency through their culture and history. This, too, should encourage dialogue and corrective action around the stories our society promotes to define Indigenous groups and the places they’re from.
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