November 05, 2010

Lost Sparrow on PBS

‘Lost Sparrow’ premiers Nov. 16 on PBS

Film explores the tragic death of two Crow boys and family’s search for redemption

By Gale Courey Toensing
When two young Crow Indian brothers ran away from their white adoptive family’s home and were killed by a freight train more than three decades ago, their deaths devastated the family and shocked the small community in upstate New York where they lived.

Filmmaker Chris Billing was 16 years old when his adopted Crow brothers Bobby, 13, and Tyler, 11, were killed on June 27, 1978. Their deaths haunted him for years.

When Billing set out 30 years later to make a film about his lost brothers, his goal was to investigate the unanswered questions about their sudden and mysterious deaths–why did the seemingly happy well-adjusted boys run away from home that day? Where were they going? Why were they on the train tracks?

“Lost Sparrow,” Billing’s powerful and personal film, succeeds in unraveling the mystery surrounding Bobby and Tyler, but in doing so it unveils a family secret that led directly to the boys’ tragic deaths.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Native Documentaries and News.

1 comment:

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see:

Crow woman happy to discover roots, tell her story in film

The first time Janelle Standsoverbull heard the words, “Lost Sparrow,” her grandmother explained that it referred to Native American children like her who lost their culture when they are taken off the reservation.

It was 1995 and Standsoverbull was 25 years old and making her first trip to the Crow Reservation to reconnect with her biological family. Her grandmother’s words planted the idea with Standsoverbull that her story should be told.

The film, directed by her brother through adoption, Chris Billing, was released in 2009 and traveled the film circuit, screening at Slamdance, a movie festival associated with Sundance, and shown in 2010 in the award-winning PBS series, “Independent Lens.”