Truth Tellers — Online Film Screening and Live Q&A

Occurred on Thursday, March 24, 2022 

Truth Tellers is a new documentary film about Maine artist and activist Robert Shetterly and his project Americans Who Tell the Truth. In the film, Shetterly uses art to celebrate the voices of courageous past and present activists fighting for racial equity, environmental justice, and indigenous rights. Over the years, Shetterly has painted over 250 portraits of truth-tellers such as Penobscot Nation leaders Sherri Mitchell and Maulian Dana; environmental activists Kelsey Juliana, Bill McKibben and Rev. Lennox Yearwood; and Civil Rights leaders Fannie Lou Hamer, John Lewis, and Martin Luther King, among many others. The film chronicles the work of Shetterly along with nine subjects of these portraits to educate and inspire students around models of moral courage throughout U.S. history. The film premiered in September 2021 at the Camden Film Festival in Maine, and The BTS Center was pleased to offer this public screening. 

We invited you to join us for a screening of Truth Tellers followed by a live question and answer session with artist Rob Shetterly and activists Reggie Harris and Maulian Dana, both of whom are featured in the film.

View the trailer for the film below:

View the live question and answer session below, recorded on March 24, 2022.

Meet Robert Shetterly

Robert Shetterly was born in 1946 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated in 1969 from Harvard College with a degree in English Literature. At Harvard he took some courses in drawing which changed the direction of his creative life — from the written word to the image. Also, during this time, he was active in Civil Rights and in the Anti-Vietnam War movement. After college and moving to Maine in 1970, he taught himself drawing, printmaking, and painting. Robert’s paintings and prints are in collections all over the U.S. and Europe. A collection of his drawings and etchings, Speaking Fire at Stones, was published in 1993. He is well known for his series of 70 painted etchings based on William Blake’s “Proverbs of Hell,” and for another series of 50 painted etchings reflecting on the metaphor of the Annunciation.

His painting has tended toward the narrative and the surreal, however, for more than ten years he has been painting the series of portraits “Americans Who Tell the Truth.” The exhibit has been traveling around the country since 2003. The portraits have given Shetterly an opportunity to speak with children and adults all over this country about the necessity of dissent in a democracy, the obligations of citizenship, sustainability, US history, and how democracy cannot function if politicians don’t tell the truth, if the media don’t report it, and if the people don’t demand it.

Meet Maulian Dana

Tribal Ambassador Maulian Dana was appointed by Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis in September 2017. As Ambassador, Maulian is responsible to act as a representative of the Penobscot Nation and to serve as a liaison for the Nation at the local, state and federal levels of government, to educate and advocate for policy and laws that impact and protect the Penobscot Nation's sovereignty, culture, natural resources and the general welfare of the Penobscot people. Prior to serving as Ambassador, Maulian served as an elected member of the Penobscot Tribal Council. Maulian grew up on Indian Island within the Penobscot Nation's Reservation. She graduated from the University of Maine in Orono with a degree in political science. She also serves as a co-chair of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Indigenous, Racial, and Maine Tribal Populations, as well as co-chair of the Sub-Committee on Equity for the Maine Climate Council. She is the proud mother of two daughters (with another daughter on the way) and uses she/her/hers pronouns. 

Meet Reggie Harris

Reggie Harris is an innovative guitarist, a fearlessly creative vocalist, and an engaging storyteller whose concert performances are infused with joy. It’s clear to all that he deeply loves singing and that it is more than his work.

Uniquely committed to “music as a community building vehicle,” Reggie’s music shares insightful perspectives on issues of  life, history, education and human rights. In the spirit of his mentors, Pete Seeger and Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon (founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock), Reggie is a master songleader who loves to help people discover that they can make a difference at any age, wherever they may live.

Reggie currently serves as a Musical Education Director and is a board member of the UU Living Legacy Project. The LLP is an organization committed to increasing the knowledge of the Modern Civil Rights movement and works to pass on relevant lessons in keeping with the present day struggle for human rights.

We are pleased to offer this event in partnership with the Maine Council of Churches.