Kind Hearted Woman

Year: 2013

Length: 5 hours

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In a special two-part series, acclaimed filmmaker David Sutherland creates an unforgettable portrait of Robin Charboneau, a 32-year-old divorced single mother and Oglala Sioux woman living on North Dakota's Spirit Lake Reservation.
Overview

In a special two-part series, acclaimed filmmaker David Sutherland creates an unforgettable portrait of Robin Charboneau, a 32-year-old divorced single mother and Oglala Sioux woman living on North Dakota's Spirit Lake Reservation. Sutherland follows Robin over three years as she struggles to raise her two children, further her education, and heal herself from the wounds of sexual abuse she suffered as a child.

Robin's battles in tribal court with her ex-husband for custody of the children, even after he is convicted of abusive sexual contact with his daughter, illuminates how serious this problem is on the reservation. Her quest to heal her family, find a man worthy of her love, build a career, and fulfill her goal of returning to her reservation to help prevent the abuse of women and children, takes her on an intimate and inspiring journey full of heartbreak, discovery, and redemption.

"As in my other films profiling rural poverty," says Sutherland, "I was trying to reach out to another forgotten corner of the American landscape, this time to put a face on a Native family so that we could see them close-up with all the detail that illuminates the rich reality of their lives."

Kind Hearted Woman is a special co-presentation of FRONTLINE and Independent Lens.

 

 

The Making Of

Music is very important to Robin and her family and plays a big role in the film. For more information on the music used in Kind Hearted Woman, please visit:

-Bobbi Rae Sage-Ranger (Facebook, Twitter) wrote and sings “Thank You Momma” at the end of Part 1. Here are the lyrics:

Momma I remember, though I try to forget

All those hours you spent down on your knees

And Momma, I remember all the pain I cause you

And the tears you cried over me

 

Thank you Momma for praying for me

If it wasn't for those prayers Momma, where would I be?

They all gave up on me but not you Momma

Thank you Momma for praying for me

 

When this old world took control of my body and my soul

I walked away from all you had taught me

Through the shame and disgrace, I could see your sweet face

And Momma, you were praying for me

 

Thank you Momma for praying for me

If it wasn't for those prayers Momma, where would I be?

They all gave up on me but not you Momma

Thank you Momma for praying for me

 

The leaves have come and gone

Since I left our home

And all the things you hold dear

You kept praying for the day you would hear me say

Momma, I have come home again

 

Thank you Momma for praying for me

If it wasn't for those prayers Momma, where would I be?

They all gave up on me but not you Momma

Thank you Momma for praying for me

They all gave up on me but not you Momma

Thank you Momma for praying for me

Thank you Momma for praying for me

 

-Nakoa HeavyRunner on Facebook and at Eagle Calf Records

-Kris White on Facebook

-Patty O-Porter & his wife Barb Porter on Facebook

-The Be Good Tanyas - Horses

-Desperation Band - Amazed

-Here are two songs written and performed by Montana Man:

I STILL LOVE YOU

MARLBORO MAN

 

Awards & Press

Praise for "Kind Hearted Woman"

"Compelling...a film like "Kind Hearted Woman" comes around only once every several years."

-Ellen Gray, PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS

"Kind Hearted Woman is not out to make a point but to show you a life."

-Robert Lloyd, LOS ANGELES TIMES

"Those familiar with Sutherland’s work know he seeks out personal stories and follows them at an unhurried, almost-hypnotic pace, extracting intimate portraits through years of painstaking filming. He has done that and then some with [Kind Hearted Woman]."

-Brian Lowry, VARIETY

"FOUR STARS...This is real, not reality television."

-Mark McLaughin, EXAMINER

"Sutherland continues to turn his camera on scenes of rural poverty not often glimpsed in American media."

-Rob Owen, PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE

"A beautifully made documentary...that reaches out and grabs you by the heart."

-Scott D. Pierce, SALT LAKE TRIBUNE

"Sutherland’s long form documentaries on the people of flyover country often take years to make. He first has to find the right people who will put up with him, follow them for years on end, and then edit the whole shebang. The results are worthwhile."

-Roger Catlin, ROGERCATLIN.COM

"Filmmaker David Sutherland has a great talent for putting a personal face on sweeping social issues and drawing viewers into intimate worlds fraught with painful personal choices."

-Kevin McDonough, UNITED MEDIA

 

FEATURES

A Family’s Secrets Bared, on Camera (New York Times)

Profile of a 'Kind Hearted Woman' as she finds her voice (Current)

Kind Hearted Woman: Filmmaker David Sutherland Paints a Portrait (New England Film)

Reservation Blues: 'Kind Hearted Woman' Paints a Hardscrabble Portrait (IDA)

Native woman confronts abuse in ‘Kind Hearted Woman’ (High Plains Reader)

Kind Hearted Woman Helps Others Heal (ABC News)

Falls woman's healing journey focus of film (International Falls Journali)

ND reservation, abuse focus of 2-part documentary (Associated Press)

In 'Kind Hearted Woman," a dark, resilient family portrait (Boston Globe)

ROBIN POOR BEAR’S STRUGGLE SHINES A LIGHT ON ISSUES IN NATIVE COMMUNITIES (Slant)

Festivals

Salem Film Festival, 2013

Denpasar Film Festival, 2013

Arlington International Film Festival, 2014

Related Links
Letters from Viewers

"Thank you for a wonderful film, with an amazing and lingering intimate presence. Days later, I find myself reviewing parts of it, which seem to somehow validate my struggle. Ahh... even the sighs...They speak volumes... When Anthony said, innocently, of Darian, "so, this is all your fault" referring to the loss of his dad... I recognized myself and women I know who had been ostracized from whole family and social groups, due to being the (innocent) victim of sexual abuse. The film was so validating. I started watching it because it reminded me of Montana, where I used to live... and then it went straight to my heart. For 5 hours. I understood when Robin said, every decision is affected. grief, and strangely, relief. Women such as I were labeled crazy, we were sacrificed in place of calling the whole structure; patriarchs, family (church, community) into question. We carried and paid for the sins of our fathers, and for the pretense that all was well, with our credibility, our reality, our lives, and at such a young age. Our mothers often hated us. There is so much that could be said. So many aspects and levels related. Thank you for a remarkable film."

 

"Absolutely amazing. I cannot speak from any kind of experience but only as a mere spectator. Your story so far has brought me to tears. I have three kids and our life is normal. We go day to day by routine and I'm happy. Then my little world is stunned at the sadness that is around like your story and I feel I take my life for granted when I see your struggles. God knows you took on more than any child should and any woman should and any mother should. You are truly an angel, amazing, and incredibly strong."

 

"The film was gentle, quiet and soft and at the same time harsh, inhumane and hurtful. I was riveted from start to finish. It was extraordinary. How did Robin manage to keep going?"

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