Native American survivors of sexual assault fight to restore personal and tribal sovereignty against the backdrop of an ongoing legacy of violent colonization.

US | 2020 | 59 minutes | Color | DVD | English | Order No. W201254 |


SISTERS RISING is the story of six Native American women fighting to restore personal and tribal sovereignty in the face of ongoing sexual violence against Indigenous women in the United States.

Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault than all other American women. 1 in 3 Native women report having been raped during her lifetime and 86% of the offenses are committed by non-Native men. These perpetrators exploit gaps in tribal jurisdictional authority and target Native women as ‘safe victims’. The film follows six women who refuse to let this pattern of violence continue in the shadows: a tribal cop in the midst of the North Dakota oil boom, an attorney fighting to overturn restrictions on tribal sovereignty, a teacher of Indigenous women’s self-defense, grassroots advocates working to influence legislative change, and the authour of the first anti-sex trafficking code to be introduced to a reservation’s tribal court. Their stories shine an unflinching light on righting injustice on both an individual and systemic level.

SISTERS RISING is an urgent call to action, a gorgeous portrait of powerful women acting in solidarity, and a demand for tribal sovereignty and self-determination as the necessary step towards ending violence against Native women.


”In a portrait of six brave participants who refuse to let a pattern of violence against Native women continue on in the shadows, this film shines an unflinching and ultimately uplifting light onto righting injustice on both an individual and systemic level.”

Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

“I believe in Sisters Rising because it centers Native women and their experiences within the discussion of the systemic forces which perpetuate sexual assault. This is a conversation that needs to happen now and I believe Sisters Rising is a powerful contributing voice.”

Sarah Deer Muscogee Creek Lawyer, Advocate and Professor

"Both affecting and educational, bringing attention to an epidemic that is ravaging Native communities."

Video Librarian


  • American Library Association Notable Films for Adults 2022
  • Honorable Mention Big Sky Award, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
  • Best Documentary Feature, American Indian Film Festival
  • Thaddeus Stevens Award, Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival
  • Best Film Award, Womens Voices Now Film Festival
  • Best Documentaries of the Year, Video Librarian
  • Silver Telly Award for Social Impact
  • Media for a Just Society Award
  • Vision Maker Film Festival
  • WYO Film Festival 2021
  • California American Indian & Indigenous Film Festival


Willow O'Feral

WILLOW O'FERAL is the award-winning director, producer and cinematographer of two feature documentary films, Break the Silence: Reproductive & Sexual Health Stories and Sisters Rising. Willow is a 2022 DOC NYC “40 Under 40” filmmaker, a Fledgling Fellow at the 2018 DX Investigative Film Festival, and a proud member of New Day Films and the Film Fatales. She co-founded Haptic Pictures which produces beautiful original content around pressing issues of social justice. Break the Silence was awarded the 2018 Choice Champion Award from Planned Parenthood of New England, and the 2019 Best Documentary Feature Award at La Frontera Queer Film Festival. Sisters Rising premiered at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in 2020 where it won the Honorable Mention Big Sky Award, and is broadcast by PBS’ America ReFramed/WORLD CHANNEL. Sisters Rising has earned numerous recognitions including Best Film Award from Women’s Voices Now Film Festival, Best Feature Documentary at the American Indian Film Festival, a Silver Telly Award for Social Impact, and a Media For A Just Society Award 2022. Willow is originally from Northern California and now lives in Vermont. (10/22)

Brad Heck

BRAD HECK is a filmmaker, cinematographer, and educator. Sisters Rising is Brad’s directorial debut. He also co-produced Willow O’Feral’s feature documentary Break the Silence: Reproductive & Sexual Health Stories, and is a co-founder of Haptic Pictures production company. Previously in his career Brad has worked as a cinematographer on commercial and independent projects and feature films. Brad was awarded a regional Emmy for his cinematography work for BRIC Media in NY, and is a recipient of the Thriving Communities Grant from the Community Engagement Lab. Brad is currently teaching film production at Central Connecticut State University, and before that he was the Director of the MFA in Film Program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and taught Film & Video Studies at Marlboro College. Brad is originally from Chicago and now lives in Vermont. (10/22)





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