For three years, Naomi Natale has worked to educate the world with her organization One Million Bones.
The Albuquerque-based organization combines hands-on art making, education and public instillations to raise awareness of ongoing genocides and mass atrocities in places like Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and Burma.
There’s a documentary about the project and it’s premiering in Albuquerque at 1 today at the Guild Cinema.
“One Million Bones – The Film” was created by Sarah Skibitze, Bryan Donnel and Laura Hudock and follows the efforts nationwide of various organizations that built bones for the project.
“We put over a million bones on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.,” Natale says. “We had participation from all 50 states and some other countries.”
Natale says installation in Washington, D.C., took place in June 2013 and featured international speakers and performers, educational workshops and a candlelight vigil.
“The film features the road that we took to get to the installation in Washington,” she says. “The filmmakers would show up in various locations and film the stories on why people are participating.”
Natale says the project encouraged people to make handmade bones that would eventually be installed in a mass grave.
“The point of using bones is that we are all connected through them,” she says. “We are like each other and responsible for each other. It also really engaged people in crafting the bones. We had elementary school through college students participate.”
Natale says the film crew also came out to New Mexico and filmed some of the schools and people that participated in the project.
In fact, in 2011 there were 50,000 bones installed on Central Avenue near Fourth Street in Downtown Albuquerque.
“This was the beginning of the project and it’s amazing to have seen it all work out,” she says. “The community has been so supportive of us since the beginning.”
Natale says after the screening in Albuquerque, she will look for other cities where she can show the 20-minute film.
“The film is to show everyone who participated their hard work,” she says. “Not everyone was able to come out to Washington to see it live, but we used all of the bones.”
Natale says the bones were made out of different materials and that many of the ceramic bones were brought back to New Mexico.
“We’ve put together a committee and we want to work with the city to create a memorial in the city,” she says. “That will be the final stage in this project.”
FILM FESTIVAL NEWS: The White Sands International Film Festival is months away but announcements will be made at the “Flicks at the Farm” on May 15 at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces.
In addition to reports about special cinematic events taking place this year, this year’s Flicks will present the southern New Mexico premiere of “Tapia,” the documentary film about the life of New Mexico boxing legend Johnny Tapia.
“Tapia” takes us inside the tortured soul of Johnny Tapia, five-time world champion boxer. The screening will be attended by Teresa Tapia, Johnny’s wife and producer of the film.
“Flicks at the Farm” starts at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 15, at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, 4100 Dripping Springs Road. Tickets for the event are $15 at the door and seating is limited.
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