Synopsis: At age two Georgina Sappier-Richardson was removed from her home and Passamaquoddy community in downeast Maine by child protection services. She would never see her parents again. Terror and abuse followed over 16 years in four different foster homes.
Dear Georgina follows this Passamaquoddy elder from Motahkomikuk as she tries to fill in the blurry outlines of her identity. Now a grandmother Georgina is still attempting to re-integrate herself into the community she barely knew.
She remembers, “When I was 30 years old and I went back to the reservation this Indian lady told me, ‘You look exactly like your mother as a young person.’ So that made me feel special, made me feel real.” This propels Georgina’s lifelong mission to find herself.
Despite her gregarious personality and infectious laugh, Georgina still struggles with the trauma from her youth and finds herself stuck straddling two different worlds. In the end, Georgina returns to her foster community in northern Maine, determined to reclaim some fragment of her lost childhood. She makes an incredible discovery, but will it help heal decades old wounds?
Dear Georgina is a follow-up to the Emmy® award-winning Dawnland (2018), in which Georgina told a portion of her harrowing story of surviving foster care. Georgina is just one of many thousands of Indigenous children with similar stories.
N. Bruce Duthu
Adam Mazo is a co-director and producer of DEAR GEORGINA. He is a director and producer of documentary films and co-founder of the Upstander Project. Upstander Project is a filmmaking and educational collaborative which helps bystanders become upstanders through film and learning resources. He co-directed and produced DAWNLAND, which premiered on PBS Independent Lens on November 5, 2018 and was nominated for two Emmy® awards. The feature documentary won the jury award for feature documentary at the Woods Hole Film Festival and is supported by Good Pitch, IFP, the Points North Institute and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. DAWNLAND and the short FIRST LIGHT (Camden, 2015) examine the first truth and reconciliation commission for Native Americans. His film COEXIST (World Channel, 2014, Africa Movie Academy Award nominee, 2011), examines a government experiment in forced reconciliation after genocide in Rwanda. COEXIST, FIRST LIGHT, DAWNLAND (and soon BOUNTY) and their companion learning resources are the cornerstone of Upstander Project’s flagship program, the Upstander Academy. Adam is a member of the core faculty at the weeklong inquiry-based summer professional development experience. Adam was born and raised in Minnesota, went to high school in Sarasota, Florida and earned a B.S. in journalism from the University of Florida. He now lives in Boston with his family.
Ben Pender-Cudlip is a co-director of DEAR GEORGINA. He is a director and cinematographer of documentary films. He co-directed and photographed the feature documentary DAWNLAND. He has shot and directed over a dozen short documentary films, including SANJIBAN (Hot Docs, 2012), FETCH (Woods Hole, 2014), and FIRST LIGHT (2015, Camden). Ben freelances as a nonfiction cinematographer for clients that include the New York Times and PBS FRONTLINE. His cinematography also appears in independent documentaries like TICKLING GIANTS, THE PEACEMAKER, and BEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL THINGS. He lives in Boston and graduated from Bard College at Simon’s Rock.