WWU professor's film to be shown at Smithsonian festival

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COLLEGE PLACE -- A Walla Walla University communications professor's award-winning documentary on indigenous peoples in Suriname will be shown next week at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian Native American Film and Video Festival in New York. The festival runs March 30 to April 3.

In February 2008, Jerry Hartman spent 21/2 weeks in Suriname, formerly known as Dutch Guyana, on the northeast coast of South America. His goal was to use film to tell the stories of the interior peoples of Suriname.

"The focus of the film is mostly basic human rights," Hartman said. "They need access to clean water, land, education, and health care. Gold mining is causing major water quality problems, and land is being taken away from the indigenous people in order to be mined, as well as for ecotourism."

Hartman is currently working on a 60-minute version of his documentary, which will incorporate more interior communities.

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