Emmy-award winning filmmaker to preview documentary-in-the-making at Cornell

Emmy-award winning filmmaker to preview documentary-in-the-making, addressing diversity, inclusion, equity, and immigration, at Cornell

ITHACA, NY – They came by the busload, more than 400 asylum seekers, representing approximately 60 families. They were fleeing persecution in the Congo and Angola, their fear propelling them to Central America and then on foot to the Southern Border of the United States. The news is still breaking, the story still developing. Asylum seekers are coming to Maine by the busload putting stress on an already fragile system. The tension is high, and yet the possibilities are unlimited and profound.


As this news broke in June of 2019, Emmy award-winning filmmaker and writer Charles Stuart,

had already been deep in production for several months on a documentary film about the diversity and accomplishment of refugees in Maine. Cornell Professor Bruce Levitt, who serves as a producer on the film, is bringing the filmmaker, along with his featured principle subject, to Cornell to share the issues depicted in the story.


On Tuesday, October 22, 2019, Stuart and Nyamon Nguany Machar (a.k.a. “Moon”) will present previews of “From Away: Immigrants in Maine,” a documentary-in-the-making about diversity, inclusion and equity, at 7:30 p.m. in the Film Forum, Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts. Moon, whose story is one of two profiled in the film, will also perform several of her original poems about immigration.


Moon’s story is one of resilience, having emigrated to the US from Ethiopia at age 5. Following high school, Moon served in the United States National Guard, and now works with at-risk youth in Portland, Maine. In sharing her story, Moon demonstrates that trauma does not have to be forever.


On Wednesday, October 23, 2019, Stuart and Moon will be hosting a Q&A discussion from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Eissner Pavilion, Schwartz Center, as part of the department of performing and media arts’ Professional Directions speaker series. Lunch will be provided.

Later that evening, Stuart and Moon will be the presenters at the Becker House Café, beginning at 7 p.m., in the Issac Kramnick Seminar Room, Becker House.


All events are free and open to the public.

Of the documentary, “Our purpose is to demonstrate how, despite tensions, a community can come together to welcome, and even celebrate diversity and inclusion while maintaining equity for all,” says Levitt.
“I was introduced to Moon by the Portland Police Department because of the exemplary work she is doing with youth at risk. As soon as I met her and heard her story, I knew I had to build a film around her...her trauma, her resilience and her activism with the immigrant community in Portland,” says Stuart. “We had been in production for several months when the story broke wide open. It was extraordinary to watch Moon work with the children of these families, help them settle and remember the trauma she and her family faced when they arrived in Maine 20 years ago.”

Stuart is an eight-time Emmy award winning filmmaker and investigative reporter, and president of Stuart Productions, which specializes in documentaries. Stuart’s work includes eight FRONTLINES; stories for 60 MINUTES; and documentaries for HBO, The Discovery Channel, A&E, TLC, Lifetime, CNN, MSNBC, National Geographic, and ESPN.


Presented by the Cornell Department of Performing and Media Arts and co-sponsored by the Carl Becker House, Hans Bethe House, Society for the Humanities and the Government Department.


For a preview of “From Away: Immigrants in Maine,” visit https://vimeo.com/321852705.

The film is scheduled to be released in 2020.


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