A Time To Be Thankful

How can I express my excitement and gratitude for the three screenings last month!  It has been extremely rewarding to bring the film out in public venues. In the last newsletter I mentioned that SIFF, here in my home town of Seattle, is generating more conversation about the story. There have been so many positive comments, but I would like share what a fellow photographer, Art Wolfe, had to say. Many of you are most likely familiar with Art’s incredible photography, probably some of the most published in the world. Art’s body of work spans the world of nature to fascinating culture. His creativity in Human Canvas is one of my personal favorites. See for yourself at www.artwolfe.com

Photographer Art Wolfe on Location

“The documentary film Headhunt Revisited: With Brush, Canvas, and Camera is the story of two women:  the first was Caroline Mytinger, a gifted artist and explorer from the early part of the last century, and the second is Michele Westmorland, a modern photographer and great documentarian who discovered Caroline’s story and brought her and her artwork back from anonymity. A society portraitist, Mytinger traveled to New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in 1926 to paint the region’s indigenous peoples.

With a gift of one of Mytinger’s books from the 1940s, Westmorland was propelled on a journey following the artist’s years in Melanesia. She has chronicled this amazing story by effectively marrying historical and contemporary photos with modern day interviews and footage. Westmorland’s intrepidness matches that of her subject to bring to life an important, long-forgotten story, and her work as a photographer and filmmaker is impressive and emotionally fulfilling.”                          – Art Wolfe

Equally as important to have my peers in the photo industry, are two testimonials that touched my heart. These came from Papua New Guinean women who now reside in the United States. Thank you, Wendy Urbin and Brenda Tia, for sharing the love of PNG. My hope is to spread the word about just how incredible all of Melanesia is.

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“It was an honor to have met you at this very special occasion. I am very blessed and thankful that it worked out for my husband and I to attend. Yes, I have also been emotional and touched by your love for the people of Melanesia which speaks a lot in this historical film that you’ve spearheaded. I greatly appreciate you reaching out to me and this is such a very special and memorable time that I will never forget!  Tenkyu tru, susa lewa!”

  —Wendy Urbin

Also pictured here is Nancy Board.  She’s been a fan and supporter of the project since its inception.                                                                                                           

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“I wanted to say many thanks for the movie. It introduces Papua New Guinea, my home country, and Melanesia as a part of the world that other people never knew about.  When I first arrived in the United States, people didn’t know where PNG is located and would ask where it is. I replied that is north of Australia and when in school or at my workplace, I would show them on the world map. Headhunt Revisited is a fantastic and educational film. It brought tears to my eyes when thinking of the lifestyles in my country of origin and now here in the States. We all take things for granted while my people back home come into a global world.  Art and culture is important to any society and should be kept going and appreciated.”                                                                          — Brenda Tia

The Explorers Club in New York City was my next location.  Headquarters for the prestigious organization is an 8-story brownstone filled with important artefacts and documentation going back to 1904. I carried the EC Flag #46 on the expedition to film the project.  I loved the engagement from the audience, with so many wonderful remarks and questions after the screening. One of the most memorable moments was meeting Robert Rose of Raw Travel TV.  I became engaged with his style of programing, which is not just about adrenaline rushes or posh resorts – it’s about culture and people being treated with respect. We have communicated over the past 2 years so but meeting him in person was a treat. Robert is just as real and caring as he is on his show. You can read Robert’s comments by clicking on his blog post HERE.

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Nancy Rosenthal is an Executive Producer of HHR, a member of Explorers Club and the founder of New York Wild Film Festival.  I highly recommend you checking out the website for the dates and screenings of some amazing films that will be featured in February, 2019.

Beautiful Monterey was the most recent location of my screenings. I had the chance to go back into the Monterey Museum of Art to photograph additional content from Caroline’s scrapbooks, and to have lunch with the new owner of her chalet on Via Gayuba. Rosemary Kennett is determined to keep the history of this home alive and documented. To sit and have lunch in the very garden Caroline tended to during her 40 years of residence was very charming. Thank you, Rosemary, for taking interest in the history of one of Monterey’s stellar artists.

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James E. Fitzgerald (1899-1971), The Studio September 1933, watercolor on paper, 17 x 22 1/4 in., reproduced with permission of The James Fitzgerald Legacy, Monhegan Museum of Art & History.  Caroline bought the home from Fitzgerald in 1942.

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Rosemary Kennett enjoying the history and beauty of her new home.

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Now that I’m home by my very own cozy fireplace, know that I’m thankful at this time of year for meeting so many wonderful new fans of Headhunt Revisited!  May you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving this season.  If you, or an organization you are affiliated with, is interested in screening Headhunt Revisited: With Brush, Canvas and Camera, please email me at screenings@headhuntrevisited.org or michele@westmorlandimages.com

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