Summer Sun Winter Moon (2010) Documentary Film Showcases American History and Diversity feat. Music by Rob Kapilow

New York, NY, November 1, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio / Vocus) The executive production team behind groundbreaking documentary film “Summer Sun Winter Moon” recently unveiled details of an ambitious curriculum initiative aimed at nurturing cross-cultural understanding among and within the US school-age population and their communities. Tentatively titled, “Bridging the Divide,” the proposed curriculum model is being built upon New York-based illume productions’ ten years of work that has resulted in nationwide PBS broadcasts and theatrical screenings of its “Summer Sun Winter Moon” film.

Trailer of Summer Sun Winter Moon

A thought-provoking experience, “Summer Sun Winter Moon” exposes viewers to the reality of the American Indian perspective of Lewis and Clark’s legendary “Corps of Discovery” mission, challenging audiences to “learn the one, controversial truth.” Providing incredible lessons in history and diversity through the music of celebrated composer Rob Kapilow and the scholarly teachings of native Blackfeet writer Darrell Robes Kipp, the film is the cornerstone of a comprehensive educational program that lends itself to teaching children the importance of cultural understanding and acceptance of individual differences among all people.

illume productions president Cynthia Newport states, “The urgent need for cross-cultural understanding and problem-solving is underscored by the current national climate with searing debates about Arizona’s immigration law and the controversy over the placement of a mosque near Ground Zero. Our goal is to create an effective, sensitive, timely and adaptable curriculum that furthers understanding among school children who will one day become citizen leaders, encouraging these young people at an early age to value diversity through knowledge-based academic work while defining their own identity.”

Collaborating with recognized experts in various disciplines, ranging from Native American tribal leaders and communities on Indian reservations to Ivy League scholars, Newport’s blueprint indicates their collective intention that the program will be used nationwide in schools, museums and after-school education programs, as well as in other venues to reach a variety of age and cultural groups. The multi-level program will be developed in a national standards-based module, modified and defined for various cohorts and leveled toward multiple grades.

H. Chico Gallegos, a Jicarilla Apache native who is a co-producer of “Summer Sun Winter Moon,” adds, “This curriculum initiative will provide a methodology for addressing differences with the recognition that in any meaningful exchange, ‘bridging’ changes the way we think and both sides of the ‘bridge’ experience growth. We offer a solid educational platform upon which to build a sound, innovative means of constructively addressing a defining challenge of our time.”

A formal presentation of illume’s “Bridging the Divide” curriculum initiatives will be fielded at the National Guild for Community Arts Education’s 73rd Annual Conference in San Francisco, California on November 4, 2010 by “Summer Sun Winter Moon” principals Rob Kapilow and Darrell Kipp. Coinciding with November’s National American Indian Heritage Month, the continuing groundswell of conversation inspired by last year’s screenings of the film has lead to its multiple rebroadcasts on PBS affiliate stations – check local listings.

Cynthia Newport is the founder and president of illume productions, which originated and developed “Summer Sun Winter Moon.” Since 1999, illume productions has been dedicated to the development and broad dissemination of multi-media programs that focus on the powerful intersection of the arts and individuals, families, communities and whole cultures. While each illume project includes a documentary film with the potential for national release and/or broadcast, these films are the bases for a broader educational program including curricula and websites designed for use in school and other community-based learning settings. These educational applications promote creative learning, stimulate educational achievement and enhance the quality of cultural life in the communities where they are used. Through partnerships with schools, museums, after-school programs and other institutions and programs, illume ensures the broad-based application of educational tools reaching diverse groups of children, youth and adults.

“Summer Sun Winter Moon” is a thought-provoking documentary film that exposes viewers to the American Indian perspective of Lewis and Clark’s legendary “Corps of Discovery” mission, while encouraging new and important dialogue that fosters healing and cross-cultural understanding. The film chronicles world-renowned classical music artist and composer Rob Kapilow’s efforts to bridge the cultural divide between the upscale humanities world of performing arts and that of the Blackfeet Indian reservation – one of the poorest communities in America. Seeking to collaborate with Blackfeet tribal member Darrell Robes Kipp, the innovative artist delves into a sharply alternative – and controversial – avenue of perspective: that of the indigenous storyteller’s view “from the river bank, not the boat.”

With over 200 broadcasts of the film on PBS flagship stations and affiliates since late winter, 2009, “Summer Sun Winter Moon” continues to engage audiences across the United States to “shred the pages of textbook history.”