TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – Two Oklahoma sisters are excelling in the world of documentary filmmaking – with a focus on their Cherokee heritage.
They’re nominated for awards and have even been featured in the Sundance Film Festival.
“I wanted to show our connection here and then to our ancestral homelands,” said Brit Hensel, who directed ‘What They’ve Been Taught‘.
It’s part of the Reciprocity Project – a series of seven Indigenous short documentary films.
Hensel’s film – narrated by a Cherokee elder and first language speaker – was partially shot in Oklahoma and explores the Cherokee people’s relationship with earth.
The piece shows what Hensel calls ‘Cherokee people doing very Cherokee things’.
“The passing on of art, the passing on of tradition, the passing on of language being spoken,” Hensel said. “Those things are innately specific for us as people.”
This year, Hensel’s short film was selected to this year’s Sundance Film Festival, which was a first selected for the festival by a female Cherokee Nation citizen.
She hopes the impact of it is felt by all who see it.
“I think it makes people question their responsibility to people around them, our responsibility to earth, our responsibility to take care of one another and I think that if that was one thing somebody took away, I’d be really proud of that,” Hensel said.
Hensel’s sister, Taylor, is a series producer for the Reciprocity Project.