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Film directed by a woman on the history of the State at the Grand | News, Sports, Jobs


NEW ULM — The Grand Center for Arts and Culture is organizing a special screening of the 2020 documentary on Thursday “Stories I didn’t know.”

The documentary was created by Rita Davern and Melody Gilbert. The film follows the journey of a Minnesota woman, Rita Davern, as she explores her family’s past. Part of his family history is tied to Pike Island, a piece of land at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. Pike Island was once owned by Davern’s descendant, but while researching the land, she was troubled that the land originally belonged to the Dakota people.

Davern struggles to reconcile how his family might be tied to the legacy of the nation’s westward expansion and why this aspect of his family history has never been told before.

As she explores how her family has benefited from the estrangement of the Dakota people, she meets Dakota educator and activist Ramona Kitto Stately, who helps put names and faces to history and explains how people are still touched after generations.

Davern and Stately will attend the screening of the documentary and hold a Q&A after the film.

Charlie Leftridge, executive director of the Grand, said the center wanted to partner with the New Ulm Film Society to start hosting screenings again.

The Grand has hosted other films in the past, and with larger public gatherings allowed, it was a good time to hold a screening with an audience.

Leftridge said it also allowed the Grand to show the community a wider variety of art and art forms. He said that The Grand embraces multiple art forms and that film is just as deserving as any other form.

“Stories I Didn’t Know” seems like a fitting starting point for the film, as the film’s connection to Minnesota history, and it’s also a way to recognize female filmmakers during Women’s History Month.

The screening begins at 7 p.m. on March 31 at the Grand Center for Arts and Culture. The event is free and everyone is welcome.



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