Free Land

Minda Martin
USA 2009 | 62 Min. | OF
Q&A with: John Gianvito

What is this land that promis­es a better future for so many people, luring them to come and settle, to cul­ti­vate it, to live? What is this land whose real­i­ty is hidden behind myths, keep­ing us from seeing what lies under the sur­face – what is buried in the earth, in sand, in his­to­ry. In this film, frag­men­tary mem­o­ries – of child­hood, of smells, and of the colors of cloth­ing – form a foun­da­tion that shines like a mosaic, although it is well under­stood and taken into account that each indi­vid­ual story is always just one of a count­less many. Like con­cen­tric cir­cles ema­nat­ing from the per­son­al story, FREE LAND also expands in very dif­fer­ent direc­tions as a film with his­tor­i­cal shots, dis­tort­ed pho­tographs, double expo­sures, and the voice of the female nar­ra­tor, who asks ques­tions, while also offer­ing expla­na­tions. A filmic essay that deals with a major sub­ject while also man­ag­ing to stay small – in the very best sense of the word – in every second, because the his­to­ry of the United States is immense and full of enough suf­fer­ing as it is. (Vien­nale)

Minda Martin tells the story of her own family, who are barely able to get by and are con­stant­ly on the brink of home­less­ness. Her father can only find short-term jobs, and her family has moved more than 70 times. A descen­dant of the Chero­kee Indi­ans on her mother’s side, Martin estab­lish­es a com­pelling con­nec­tion between the 200 years of white set­tle­ment and the pover­ty of the exist­ing land­less pop­u­la­tion.

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Minda Martin studierte Film an der Uni­ver­si­ty of Ari­zona und am Cal­i­for­nia Insti­tute of the Arts. Sie real­isierte per­sön­liche und exper­i­mentelle Doku­men­tarfilme, die sich mit sozialen und ras­sis­tis­chen Themen befassen. Ihre Arbeit­en wurden auf zahlre­ichen inter­na­tionalen Fes­ti­vals gezeigt und aus­geze­ich­net. Sie unter­richtete Film an ver­schiede­nen Uni­ver­sitäten, zurzeit lehrt sie an der Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­si­ty San Marcos.

Filme: MOTHER’S HERITAGE (1996), AKA KATHE (2000), LOVE, MINDA (2003), THE LONG DISTANCE OPERATOR (2012, part of FAR FROM AFGHANISTAN, see John Gian­vi­to).