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Film showing includes Kemp's 'Metropolitan Rezervation'

March 16, 2009

Several years ago, Kade Twist, a Cherokee and the Native American adviser to Benjamin Walker, producer of the PBS series “We Shall Remain,” invited Randy Kemp to participate in an unusual project: Ten Native American community members in the Phoenix area would use new Nokia cell phone cameras to make videos.

Kemp said yes, and the result is "Metropolitan Rezervation,” a 7-1/2-minute film that follows three homeless Native Americans as they live their lives in Phoenix.

The film will be shown at “Reel/Native a ASU,” a screening from 6 to 8 p.m. March 26 in Discovery Hall room 281. Featured that evening will be several short videos, including Kemp’s, that are included in “We Shall Remain.”

Kemp, a musician and artist who is an environmental graphic designer in ASU’s sign shop, based the film on a poem he wrote about five years ago. The poem was inspired by a homeless Native American man whom Kemp befriended on Central Avenue in Phoenix, and other homeless Native Americans he subsequently met.

“I have a post office box on Central Avenue, and I always run across folks asking for a bit of change,” Kemp said. “I began to wonder, ‘how do you get past this façade?’”

“In the Native American culture, they are part of my people. I wanted to find a way to talk to them with respect.”

In his video, Kemp combined layers of voice interviews, flute music, visual graphics/photos and personal poetry “to convey the depth of the subject matter.”

During his research for the film, Kemp said, he “Heard stories from Native Americans who came from the reservation to the metropolitan city to start new lives and discoveries, instead finding disheartenment and personal despair.

“A thin line of luck may have changed the outcome,” Kemp added, but he says about them in his poem, “it’s about strength and survival, combined with the innate drive to continue seeking for tomorrow's dreams.”

Eight will show “We Shall Remain” on Monday evenings at 9 p.m., beginning April 13 and continuing through May 11. The episodes are titled “After the Mayflower,” “Tecumseh's Vision,” “Trail of Tears,” “Geronimo” and “Wounded Knee.”