One Word Sawalmem

Films by Genre

19H 26MIN

Availability ended 15/11/2020 GMT
One word ripples outward, vibrating with healing power. Sawalmem, meaning Sacred Water.
(1-15 Nov worldwide) Finalist of the short film program of the Tribeca Film Institute, One World Sawalmem is born from one question: what is one word from your ancestral language which changed your life and which you can offer to humanity to heal our relationship with the Earth? Finalist of the BAFTA-qualifying Carmarthen Bay Film Festival and the Academy-Award-qualifying Indy Shorts International Film Festival by Heartland Films, One Word Sawalmem is the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award of the Tagore Film Festival in India. It is an official selection to 15+ film festivals around the world. The film was selected by Robert Redford and the Redford Center (film’s fiscal sponsor) as a powerful voice at the intersection of youth, Indigenous wisdom and climate resilience. One word ripples outward, vibrating with healing power. Sawalmem, meaning Sacred Water. Sawalmem could help us unravel the climate crisis we’ve created… For Winnemem Wintu young man Michael "Pom" Preston Sawalmem represents an entire worldview, a vital vision for healing the world and for healing from the legacy of the Shasta Dam that, since the 1940s, has harmed salmon and the Sacramento River and the Winnemem Wintu people of Shasta Mountain, California. As a student of environmental studies at UC Berkeley, Pom did not feel heard. He felt he was being told that his indigenous viewpoint was irrelevant. The time has come to listen to Pom and to the Winnemem Wintu tribe. And to observe Sawalmem. In violation of state law, against all scientific reason and risking contamination of Northern California’s water supply as well as “ethnocide” against the Winnemem Wintu people, a Shasta Dam raise is being fast-tracked by the Trump administration, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and Westlands Water District. Pom's mother Chief Caleen Sisk speaks out at every opportunity and organizes Run4Salmon, an annual 300-mile prayerful journey by foot, boat, horse and canoe. Pom dances in tribal ceremonies on Mount Shasta to stay strong in this latest battle as a warrior for Sawalmem. Sawalmem… A vision of the return of the salmon to their ancestral home waters and the restoration of the largest river in California, the Sacramento. The spiritual is political. Sawalmem

Included with

“One Word Sawalmem is a film of great power and purpose. It explains the Indigenous understanding and knowledge of the interdependence amongst all life on this planet.” 

Dr. Stephanie Pratt, Dakota and Anglo-American art historian and cultural consultant, Native Spirit Film Festival

Director Bio
Michael "Pom" Preston
is a member of the Winnemem Wintu tribe and the son of the current tribal chief, Caleen Sisk. He grew up going to his tribe’s sacred places and has been dancing in the Winnemem way since he was four years old. He continues to protect sacred sites along the McCloud River, which have been under threat of inundation from the Shasta Dam raise effort by the US Bureau of Reclamation. He is a participant in the Run4Salmon, a 300-mile prayer run from the San Francisco Bay to the headwaters of the McCloud River. Runners make prayers at specific points along the waterways for the return of the Chinook salmon and the health of the water and lands.

Natasha Deganello Giraudie is a mother, a filmmaker and a teacher of nature practice. She helped to pioneer the micro-documentary genre for humanitarian movements, filming in more than 30 countries and reaching expansive audiences with her work. Her film, One Word Sawalmem, was selected by Robert Redford and the Redford Center as a powerful voice at the intersection of youth, indigenous wisdom and environmental change. Her experiential nature meditation film, Inmanencia, was selected to be screened in festivals around the world from Boulder to Buenos Aires to Bhutan, where it won the Audience Choice Award.


Directed by Michael "Pom" Preston
Natasha Deganello Giraudie

Produced by Micro-Documentaries LLC

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