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Directed by Brandon Jackson & Emil Benjamin
Documentary Feature
United States | 79 min | 2020

In the wake of the Dakota Access Pipeline Protests, Indigenous People across the nation are using their newfound platform to shed light on the wide array of injustices committed against them for centuries in an effort to wake up the world and embark upon the process of decolonization.


Winner of the People’s Choice Award
Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM), 2021

The Best Feature Documentary Award
Indy Film Fest, 2022

The Cercle d’or for Best Feature Documentary Award
Sherbrooke World Film Festival, 2022

The Grand Prix Documentary Award
Rising Sun International Film Festival, 2022

The Silver Award for Best Feature Documentary
Tokyo Film Awards, 2022

The Dr. Sydney K. Shapiro Humanitarian Award
Phoenix Film Festival, 2022

The Best Editing of a Documentary Award
Madrid International Film Festival, 2022

The Excellence in Editing Award
Docs Without Borders Film Festival, 2022

The Best Editing Award
Brussels World Film Festival, 2022


“Truly a rare moment in Cinema… This film is a marvel”
Mélikah Abdelmoumen & Marc Béland, CBC Radio Canada

“An Exquisite Gem. Tenderness, wonder, & dignity…
a beautiful film about beautiful people”
Richard Propes, The Independent Critic

“Anyone who watches Dear Audrey will undoubtedly conclude
that Hayes is a masterful filmmaker”
Charlie Smith, The Georgia Straight

“Touching… luminous… truly magnificent”
Caroline Levesque, CBC Radio Canada

“Dear Audrey, a riveting documentary…
that stands as a powerful paean to passion and perseverance”
Evelyn C White, The Halifax Examiner

“…so many amazing lessons, stories, emotions with pain
and celebration intertwined”
Darren Wiesner, Hollywood North Magazine

“It’s impossible to watch this documentary, (a People’s Choice Award winner), without being overwhelmed by its sweetness and generosity”
Silvia Galipeau, La Press

“…an at once ethereal reflection on the enduring power of love,
and unblinking revelation of life’s steel-cold realities”
Chris Cook, Gorilla Radio

“The central force of Dear Audrey is the eternal, almost implacable force of love that binds people together through the most difficult times”
Dorothy Woodend, The Tyee

“Dear Audrey celebrates the very best the human heart has to offer, with such compassion, artistry and grace”
Terre Nash, Oscar-winning director

“A Stunning Love Story You Won’t Soon Forget!”
Indy Film Fest

“This love story will bring you joy, hope, tears and humility…”
Dr. Jen Hammersmark, Mind Your Madness

“…a beautiful homage to Audrey, to the couple’s
love and their family”
Nantali Indongo, CBC Radio

“Beautiful, touching … ‘Dear Audrey’ is a testament to
what Audrey was and what she remains forever”
Rob Wilson, The Bobr Times

“Poignant and could not be more authentic”
Amandine de Chanteloup, Le Collectif

The Dakota Access Pipeline Protests at Standing Rock in 2016 marked a new era for the Lakota Nation. After a multi-generational struggle to preserve their land, language and traditions in the face of systemic oppression, their efforts finally made international headlines, waking the world up to Indigenous issues and encouraging First Nations peoples far and wide to confront their own challenges with this newfound global awareness at their backs.

When Brandon Jackson, one of our directors, traveled across the country to support the Lakota people in their fight against the pipeline, he met Jen Martell, a spokesperson for the tribe, who eventually became one of the lead producers on the film. While discussing the many issues being amplified during the protests, Jen made it clear that DAPL is just one moment in a much deeper, more complex story of endless injustice. She asked Brandon to build a team to return to Standing Rock and help her tell that story. After a year of research and planning, Sandra Evers-Manly, an avid civil rights advocate with a long history of supporting filmmakers of color, took interest in the film and granted that opportunity. Brandon called his old collaborator, filmmaker and activist Emil Benjamin, to lend his visual storytelling skills, and thus, the Oyate team was born.

There are a handful of films about the Dakota Access Pipeline. “Oyate” is not one of them. In the spirit of Jen’s original call to action, our film uses the pipeline as a launching point to present a sweeping assessment of the Lakota story: from their first contact with European settlers all the way up to the urgent issues that they face in today’s fraught political climate. We weave the protests together with historical context and the personal lives of activists, politicians, and organizers who triage the crisis that is every day in Indian Country. What results is a mosaic that depicts what Indigenous leaders have described as a “slow genocide,” and highlights the resilience of a people who ultimately thwart those efforts, with lifelong activists Phyllis Young and Chase Iron Eyes as our anchors.

At a pivotal moment in world history and an inflection point in the struggle for Indigenous rights, Oyate embraces a way forward which respects all peoples and paints a future lead by the original civilizers of this hemisphere.

Oyate - Poster

Oyate - Brandon JacksonBrandon Jackson

Brandon Jackson has traveled the world documenting oppression and human rights violations from refugee camps in Lebanon to the protests in Standing Rock. He got his start in film serving as a producer on This Is Honduras. Afterwards, he worked as a story consultant on White Boy, a crime documentary unveiling government coercion to keep a man in jail for life, and as the lead world tour producer on Black & White Stripes: The Juventus Story, a film marking one of the biggest sports comebacks in history. Most recently, Brandon was a consultant and assoc. producer on Junebug, which premiered at the American Black Film Festival.

Oyate - Emil BenjaminEmil Benjamin

Emil Benjamin is a writer, director, producer, cinematographer, and editor based out of NYC. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he received his BFA in Theatre Arts from Boston University and MFA in Film Directing & Screenwriting from Columbia University, where he also taught undergraduate screenwriting. His short films WHITE PEOPLE and WE CAN DO IT have screened and earned prizes at over a dozen festivals domestically and internationally. He attended the Cine Qua Non Revision Lab with his feature, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ENOUGH, which is also Reader Recommended on The Black List. Emil is the founder of Irrelevant Media, an international production company and artistic collective that has screened and won prizes at Venice, Cannes, TIFF, SXSW, and more.

Film Information

Director:  Brandon Jackson & Emil Benjamin
Country: United States
Year: 2020
Language: English
Runtime: 79 min
Rated:  PG-13


Producer: Sandra Evers-Manly, Brandon Jackson, Emil Benjamin, Jennifer Martel
Composer: Jerod Impichchaachaaha Tate
Key Cast: Chase Iron Eyes, Phyllis Young, Deb Haaland, Stuart James, Sally Jewell, Ruth Buffalo, Tokata Iron Eyes
Cinematography: Emil Benjamin
Editor: Emil Benjamin

Connect With This Film

BIFF - Beloit International Film Festival
BIFF | Beloit International Film Festival