March Point

The journey of three teens from the Swinomish Indian Tribe who make a film about the threat from two local oil refineries.

March point 01
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
November 18, 2008
60 minutes
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2008 Global Green Indigenous Film Festival-Audience Award
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2008 imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival-Best Documentary Award
  • Silverstein annie filmmaker bio

    Annie Silverstein

    Annie Silverstein has been working in the field of filmmaking and youth media for the past eight years. While majoring in history and receiving a BA from Macalester College, Annie worked at Phillips Community Television as the program coordinator of Our Turn, a monthly television show produced by youth about issues affecting them and the Phillips community. She relocated to Seattle in 2002 to direct the Young Producers Project at 911 Media Arts Center, and shortly after, launched the Native Lens program in partnership with the Swinomish tribe and has since dedicated herself to teaching filmmaking as a form of cultural preservation and social change in the Native community. She continues to write, direct and produce film projects. In 2004 Annie wrote and directed A Jew’s Guide to Christmas, a documentary short that was the sum of many years of relentless holiday envy, which aired on Seattle’s PBS station KCTS and was screened as a distinguished feature by the Seattle Art Museum. Other films include Chase Me (writer/director/producer), Sisters of the Good Death (co-producer/cinematographer/editor), and Eu, Selaron (writer/director/producer-currently). In 2007 Annie was the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship for her project Nossas Historias and spent a year in Rio de Janeiro filming, teaching, and studying the impact of youth media programs in a home for orphaned and displaced youth from Rio’s favelas. She is artistic director and co-founder of Longhouse Media, an indigenous media arts organization and home of the nationally acclaimed program Native Lens.

    Rector tracy filmmaker bio

    Tracy Rector

    Tracy Rector earned her master's in education and teacher certification from Antioch University’s First Peoples Program. She specializes in Native American studies, traditional plant medicine, and documentary film. As the co-producer of the award-winning films Teachings of the Tree People and The Work of Bruce Miller for the Seattle Art Museum, Tracy has developed an awareness and sensitivity to the power of media and film as a modern storytelling tool. Her work has been featured at National Geographic’s All Roads Film Project and the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian and she is the recent recipient of the prestigious Native American Public Telecommunications Producers grant and Horace Mann Award. As a Native education specialist, Tracy offers unique insight to her projects. Her vision is to bring traditional and contemporary education together on a foundation based in environmental stewardship. March Point is an example of co-collaborating with youth filmmakers as a process of alternative education and inquiry into the world. She is currently working with the Seattle Art Museum as an education consultant, as a Native naturalist for the Olympic sculpture park, and in planning for the new expanded Native American wing of the Seattle Art Museum and the international exhibition “S’abadeb — The Gifts: Pacific Coast Salish Art and Artists.” Tracy is also currently developing curriculum for IslandWood, an environmental education center. She is the executive director and co-founder of Longhouse Media, an indigenous media arts organization and home of the nationally acclaimed program Native Lens.

    We fund untold stories for public media.

    Learn more about funding opportunities with ITVS.

    The Film

    Travis, Nick, and Cody have been friends almost all their lives, growing up on the Swinomish reservation in northwest Washington. When they find themselves in trouble with drugs and alcohol, the teens are offered an opportunity to participate in Native Lens, Longhouse Media’s filmmaking program. Figuring it's better than spending afternoons in drug court, they dream about making a film with car crashes and rap music. But they are asked to make a documentary about the impact of two oil refineries on their tribal community instead.

    March Point filmmakers Tracy Rector and Annie Silverstein bring together filmmaking and alternative education through their collaboration with the three young Native Americans. The film assignment sends the boys down a path of historical investigation.

    The boys learn that the people now known as the Swinomish flourished on the bounty of the coast of the Pacific Northwest for thousands of years. Clams, crab, and fish were plentiful, and as the tribal saying goes, “When the tide’s out, the table’s set.” But when Shell Oil built two refineries in the 1950s, on land once owned by the tribe, chemicals made their way into the water, tainting the seafood and shellfish that the Swinomish eat daily. Meanwhile, poverty, drugs, and alcohol have seeped into the lives of the families who live there. Ambivalent at the onset of the filmmaking venture, the boys awaken to the destruction these refineries have wrought in their communities. As the grapple with their assignment, they begin to experience the need to understand and tell their own stories and to grasp the power of this process to change their lives and give back to their community.March Point follows the boys’ journey on their path from childhood to adulthood as they come to understand themselves, their history, and the environmental threat to their people.