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MediaLab Premieres New Documentary Eyes Above: Militarization of Sacred Land

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MediaLab Eyes Above documentary
March 16, 2021

MediaLab students at will premiere their latest documentary virtually on Thursday, April 1. Eyes Above: Militarization of Sacred Land explores how the Tohono O’odham Nation in southern Arizona grapples with the encroaching surveillance technologies implemented on their land as the United States further militarizes its border with Mexico. Members of the O’odham Nation share their stories of life under the watchful eye of surveillance and the U.S. Border Patrol.

Map of the Tohono O'odham Reservation in relation to traditional land - Graphic by Rosemary Bennett

Students began principal photography in Arizona during January 2020 and collected additional footage and interviews in February before the COVID-19 pandemic forced much of the country into lockdown. The film was edited remotely by students during the summer and fall of 2020—a technological achievement the filmmakers are proud of.

The film project was directed and produced by students Brennan LaBrie, Hallie Harper, Hanna McCauley, Sarah Ward, Raven Lirio, Emily Groseclose, Ben Leschensky and Seley Nemish. Communication Department faculty member Dr. Kate Hoyt is the documentary advisor for the team.

Director Brennan LaBrie shares, “I’m so proud of what our team was able to create together despite the curveballs 2020 threw at us. I know our team shares my excitement in finally showing the product of months of filming, virtual writing sessions, and editing that went into this film. We hope you find the story as compelling and important as we do.”

The premiere will include guest speakers from the film as well as a scholarly perspective on the issues of surveillance, Indigenous sovereignty, and border politics. The premiere is made possible in part with the support of a grant from Humanities Washington.

Eyes Above: Militarization of Sacred Land

RSVP for the virtual premiere on Thursday, April 1 at 6:00pm Pacific. You’ll hear from the student creators and a few of the interviewees. An email link will be sent to you a few days before the premiere.