A multi-media project profiling the spaces of the Indian reservation and Palestinian refugee camp: spaces of exception whose position in the struggle for native and Palestinian autonomy are essential. The Native and the Refugee will culminate in a feature-length documentary film.

Our project highlights:

  • The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of the Oglala Lakota, located in South Dakota; the Akwesasne territory of the Mohawks, located on the borders of New York, Ontario, and Quebec; and the Navajo Nation of the Dine, located between Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.
  • Ain al-Hilweh, Beddawi, Bourj al-Barajneh, Mar Elias, and Shatila in Lebanon; and Aida, Al-Arroub, Balata, Dheisheh, and Jenin in the West Bank.

The camps are the core of the Palestinian struggle: the birthplace of both Intifadas; the original power base of the Palestine Liberation Organization; the living reminder of the “right to return”; and the place where the contradictions that underlie Palestinian, Lebanese, and Israeli society are most exposed.

The parcels of land preserved by and for native communities known as reservations represent and embody indigenous attempts at maintaining a communal and traditional system of life, governance, and connection to land in the face of United States attempts at assimilation though individuation, proxy governments, and economic and material domination.

In connecting these two spaces and their struggles, the goals of the project are:

  • to understand the centrality of the question of land and territory for any conception of autonomy;
  • to look at the camp as an “extra-national” space, with all the contradictions entailed;
  • to meet with those getting organized politically in these places, and to understand their communal concerns


DIRECTOR/PRODUCER Matt Peterson is an organizer at Woodbine, an autonomous space in New York City. In 2014 he completed feature film on the Tunisian insurrection, Scenes from a Revolt Sustained, with a production grant from the Doha Film Institute. He was a member of the collectives Red Channels and the 16 Beaver Group. His writings have appeared in the Brooklyn Rail, Death+Taxes, Evergreen Review, Idiom, Jeux Sans Frontières, The L, The New Inquiry, and New York Press.

DIRECTOR/PRODUCER Malek Rasamny is a researcher and filmmaker based in both New York and Beirut whose writings have been published in The Daily Star and Fuse. He’s worked at the Maysles Documentary Center, and was a founding member of the LERFE space in Harlem, the Ground Floor Collective, and Red Channels. He is currently working on a research project surrounding Druze sovereignty in Lebanon, Syria, and Israel, and has presented at the conferences of the American Druze Society.

CINEMATOGRAPHER/EDITOR Adam (Shingwak_Nehro_Rashad_Krebs) Khalil is a filmmaker, artist, and media archivist. His practice attempts to subvert traditional forms of ethnography through humor, relation, and transgression. Adam’s work has been exhibited at Goldilocks Gallery (Philadelphia), Microscope Gallery (Brooklyn), Museo ExTeresa Arte Actual (Mexico City), Carnival of eCreativity (Bombay), and Fine Art Film Festival Szolnok (Hungary). Khalil is a UnionDocs Collaborative Fellow and Gates Millennium Scholar.

CINEMATOGRAPHER Brandon Jourdan is a journalist and filmmaker who has contributed to Democracy Now!, the NY Times, CNN, Reuters, Deep Dish TV, Independent Media Center, Now with Bill Moyers, Foreign Exchange, and Free Speech TV. Since 2011, he has worked together with Marianne Maeckelbergh on Global Uprisings, an independent news site and video series dedicated to showing responses to the economic crisis and authoritarianism. Together they have produced over 20 short documentary films covering the large-scale uprisings, occupations, protests and revolutions in Egypt, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Spain, Greece, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Turkey and the United States. His feature documentary July War (2008) traced the 2006 war in Lebanon.

CINEMATOGRAPHER Mitra Azar is a filmmaker, visual artist and media philosopher, whose work has been exhibited at venues including Fondazione Pomodoro (Milano), Castello di Rivoli (Torino), MIT (Boston), Raven Row (London), Salt (Istanbul), Benfeitoria Gallery, Belo Horizonte Brazil, Node Fest (Paris & Rome), Vafa videoart festival (Macao), Doclisboa, Transmediale (Berlin), and Berlinale. He has lectured at Brera Academy (Milan), Hyperwerk Basel, I-node Planetary Plymouth, Liverpool and City University Hong Kong, Contemporary Art Lab (Liverpool), and John Moores University. Recently he has worked on the production of three feature documentaries in Iran, Egypt and China, publishing Iran vs Iran, a book/DVD about the 2009 Green revolution. As a filmmaker, he has worked for Express TV Danmark, Helden Film Germany, and RT Russia (with Julian Assange).


EMAIL: thenativeandtherefugee@gmail.com

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/thenativeandtherefugee