A young Navajo filmmaker investigates the displacement of Indigenous people and the environmental devastation caused by global corporations


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BEST FEATURE - American Documentary and Animation Festival | BEST FEATURE - American Indian Film Festival BEST ENVIRONMENTAL DOCUMENTARY - Arizona International Film Festival

Indigenous Studies • Native American Studies • Extractive Resource Corporations & Environmental Devastation • Public Health • Environmental Justice

Date of Completion: 2022 | Run Time: 75 minutes​​ | Language: English (AD Version available), Spanish, Zapotec, Diné, Blaan, Visayan, & Wayuunaki with English, Spanish, German and French subtitles | Captions: Yes | Includes: Study Guide | Director: Ivey Camille Manybeads Tso | Producers: Jordan Flaherty, Emily Faye Ratner, & Ewa Jasiewicz

In POWERLANDS, Ivey Camille Manybeads Tso, a young Navajo filmmaker, investigates the displacement of Indigenous people and the devastation of the environment caused by the same chemical companies that have exploited the land where she was born. She travels to the La Guajira region in rural Colombia, the Tampakan region of the Philippines, the Tehuantepec Isthmus of Mexico, and the protests at Standing Rock. In each case, she meets Indigenous women leading the struggle against the same corporations that are causing displacement and environmental catastrophe in her own home. Inspired by these women, Ivey Camille brings home the lessons from these struggles to the Navajo Nation.

Featured Interview on Democracy Now

Naomi Klein, Author | Shock Doctrine
Powerlands is a map drawn in the vibrant colours of resistance, an essential text for the climate justice movement, and a gift from a brilliant young filmmaker."

Avi Lewis, Filmmaker | This Changes Everything
"Ivey Camille Manybeads Tso honours the powerful protagonists in this film with her own passion, commitment, and art.”

Review from Broadway World
"It is not possible to watch this film without...swelling emotion. In empowering the people themselves to give voice to their experiences, their aspirations, and their fierce resolve, the film itself is a powerhouse experience."

Interview from the Navajo-Hopi Observer
"Powerlands highlights the displacement of indigenous people and the devastation of the environment by energy companies that exploit the land to the detriment of the native people on them."

Full interview at Counterspin
"Powerlands asks those of us who aren't at the immediate sharp end to see, and to connect."

Twin Geeks
"Finds the dance in the struggle and articulates, powerfully, how that dance is the struggle."

Portland Tribune
"Clear analysis of colonial dynamics spanning continents and centuries."

River Reporter
"Inspirational and powerful."

Halifax Courier
"Resists the idea that there are simple solutions."

Lake County News
"Exposes a range of corporate abuses and Indigenous resistance."

Lake County Record Bee
"Brings to light the generations-long worldwide exploitation of Indigenous people and their lands."

School Library Journal | Maggie Knapp
"Takes the view that profit and cheap energy must take second place to local health and stresses the necessity for everyone to unite to protect Earth’s natural resources."

Ivey Camille Manybeads Tso is an award-winning queer Navajo filmmaker, and a recent fellow with the Firelight Media Documentary Filmmaker Lab. She started making films at the age of 9, through the Native youth media project Outta Your Backpack Media. At the age of 13 she made the award-winning fiction film In the Footsteps of Yellow Woman, based in the true story of her great-great-great grandmother Yellow Woman, who lived through the Navajo Long Walk of 1864-1868. The film screened in over 90 film festivals internationally and won 11 awards. Ivey Camille continued to refine her filmmaking craft with a full scholarship to Idyllwild Arts Academy in California. She later returned home to work on films in her community of Navajo Nation. At the age of 19, Ivey Camille began work on POWERLANDS, her first feature, which has already won several awards, including best feature at American Documentary and Animation Festival (AmDocs). She has appeared as a featured guest on Democracy Now.

Jordan Flaherty is an award-winning journalist, producer, and author. He has produced dozens of hours of film and television, including for Al Jazeera’s Emmy, Peabody and DuPont-award winning program Faultlines; as well as short and long-form documentaries for Democracy Now and teleSUR, reporting in the New York Times and Washington Post, and writing two books based on his reporting. He began his producing career with the independent feature film Chocolate Babies, which was recently added to the Criterion Collection. You can find more of his work at jordanflaherty.org.