Telluride Mountainfilm: Brian Lindstrom’s “Mothering Inside”

Telluride Mountainfilm: Brian Lindstrom’s “Mothering Inside”

Mountainfilm is screening “Mothering Inside” at the following venues: Wilkinson Public Library, Friday, May 27, 6:45 p.m.; The Nugget, Saturday May 28, 4 p.m.; The Nugget again on Sunday, May 29, 12 p.m.

For a schedule of events, go here and click on the date in question.

Please scroll down to the bottom of the story to listen to director Brian Lindstrom’s podcast and watch the trailer.

mothering inside poster-2

On the subject of personal transformation, motivational speaker and author Marianne Williamson once put it this way: “spiritual growth involves giving up the stories of your past so the universe can write you a new one.”

And that is exactly what Lanetta did.

Like many women at Wilsonville’s Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, as a result of the body blow of poverty, Lanetta suffered from abuse, addiction, and repeated incarcerations. But thanks to the The Family Preservation Project (FPP), a parenting initiative that allows incarcerated women to maintain active relationships with their children, Lanetta was able to reframe her life, write a new story that more accurately reflects who she really is: “I’m not that person I thought I was. I’m not a drug addict whore. I can do better.”

Just six months after being released, Lanetta did do better. She began working full time, taking college classes, ultimately becoming a positive force in her family.

Lanetta is just one of the women and their families who have benefited from FPP,  an initiative profiled in award-winning documentary filmmaker Brian Lindstrom’s latest project: “Mothering Inside.”

“Mothering Inside” is just one of a number of Lindstrom’s projects that attempts to answer a simple question: “How does a person grow?,” which Lindstrom, like Williamson, believes is possible “when we stop telling ourselves the same old story we’ve based our life on.”

“Mothering Inside” won the Audience Award at Ashland Independent Film Festival and the Best of the NW Award at the Bend Film Festival. It is one of the featured documentaries at the 38th annual Telluride Mountainfilm Festival, where Lindstorm – and his wife – are among the 2016 featured guests.

Asked in an interview GoLocal PDX Arts, what Lindstorm hoped his viewers would take away from “Mothering Inside,” his other films too, he responded simply, eloquently: “It takes grit and grace to change a life, but it is possible.”

Turns out Lindstrom’s wife embodies those words: Grit and grace – and a very long walk mostly uphill, battling a back pack and personal demons all the way – helped Cheryl Strayed re-imagine her life story. She wrote about her journey of transcendence in a memoir that became a bestseller (and Strayed a household brand): “Wild.”

(Strayed is a Mountainfilm regular. Since 2014, she’s come to town over Memorial Weekend as a special guest, author, Moving Mountains Prize Judge, and Symposium speaker. This year, on Friday, May 27, starting at 9 p.m, at the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village, Strayed emcees the event’s opening talks about our national parks.)

Lindstrom embodies those qualities too. His parents divorced at age seven, so he was raised by a single, working mom and a pair of divorced grandparents. He was first in his family to go to college, supporting his education by working in a salmon cannery in Alaska for nine summers.

Brian Lindstrom brings ‘Mothering Inside” to Mountainfilm.

Brian Lindstrom brings ‘Mothering Inside” to Mountainfilm.

At graduate school at Columbia University, Lindstrom pursued filmmaking, focusing on cinema verité in order to hang out with people he thought were interesting – and whose stories needed telling.

Compassion is the subtext of all Lindstrom’s projects, which include “Finding Normal” about recovering addicts who reach out to help others in recovery, and “Alien Boy,” which explores issues of police accountability in the case of James Chasse, a nonviolent schizophrenic brutally killed in 2006 by officers of the law.

Compassion and making a difference.

Telluride Mountainfilm has long been about leading by example: using film and words to move people to action.

The way the Oregon public responded to “Mothering Inside” is a case in point.

In 2015, midway through filming of “Mothering Inside,” the Oregon Department of Corrections decided to de-fund FPP  – despite the program’s zero recidivism rate.

Lindstrom’s audiences left the screenings, hair on fire, determined to save the program. They signed petitions, wrote letters to legislators and the governor – and their affirmative actions worked. At least for now. The Oregon Legislature opting to continue funding the program for several years. The Family Preservation Project remains in operation today, thanks in part to a filmmaker out to save souls.

Below is the trailer for “Mothering Inside.”

To learn more, listen to Brian Lindstrom’s podcast.

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