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Bucks filmmaker screens film on American Indian adoptions


Drew Nicholas, a filmmaker originally from Bucks County, returns to screen his just-completed documentary film “Blood Memory: A Story of Removal and Return.”

The film, which was nine years in the making, will screen 7:30 p.m. May 9, at the County Theater in Doylestown, and Nicholas will do a Q&A. The film screened in Ambler on May 1.

“Battles over blood quantum and ‘best interests’ resurface the untold history of America’s Indian Adoption Era – a time when nearly one-third of children were systematically removed from tribal communities nationwide. As political scrutiny over Indian child welfare intensifies, an adoption survivor helps others find their way home through song and ceremony.”

Nicholas, a 2006 graduate of Palisades High School, said the idea for film was born when he met a woman who was adopted for assimilation purposes, when he graduated from film school at Point Park University in Pittsburgh. His “mission to learn more” led him to the main subject of “Blood Memory.”

“As the story developed,” he said, “a lot of legal stuff started to unravel around the issue.” Another character central to the film is a Native American attorney whose position may surprise viewers.

Nicholas described “Blood Memory” as “one woman’s memoir intermixed with this lawyer’s story.” She is the hero, and he is the antagonist, the filmmaker added.

The film tackles questions including “How important is cultural identity?” Nicholas said.

The film had its world premiere at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in February and is currently touring the festival circuit with notable premieres at Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, Black Hills Film Fest and RISE Reconciliation Film Fest in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

“I’m just really excited to present the film in the theater where I grew up seeing movies,” Nicholas said. “That’s where I really got my film education from.”

“Blood Memory” was produced with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vision Maker Media, The Pittsburgh Foundation/Heinze Endowments, Sinte Gleska University and the Sicangu Nation.

Visit the County Theater online, or find the event listing on Facebook.