NOMINATED FOR THE GRAND JURY AWARD
The history of racism and slavery in modern America is retold through the prism of John Brown - a white, militant abolitionist - who was sentenced to death in 1859 for a failed attempt to start an armed revolution. His story forms the framework around which artist Lee Anne Schmitt structures her poignant and thought-provoking essay film contemplating the culpability of White America in the ongoing disenfranchisement of Black America. The films’ narrative spans from the 1850s through to the present day, where the echoes of America’s dark past continue to reverberate across the country. Schmitt dedicates Purge This Land to her children, and subtly interlaces her personal own story with that of John Brown’s to produce a moving yet measured reflection on race in contemporary America.