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Sovereign Cinema: the political documentary of Nā Maka o ka ‘Āina

Since 1974, videomakers Puhipau and Joan Lander have operated as Nā Maka o ka ‘Āina (“the eyes of the land”), a documentary collective that saw in media production a means of anti-colonial knowledge-making. Their films on the cultures and ecologies of Hawai’i and the Pacific redeem native practices for native livelihood, and their monumental political documentaries imagine a sovereign Hawai’i only possible by recovering the history of the oppressed. This is public media as political media, independent cinema as a sovereign cinema. Their videography of over 100 documentaries is unparalleled, an archive as explosive as ever and an essential contribution to global indigenous cinema.