Kiersten Dunbar Chace
... providing safe spaces for individuals and communities to share their stories while also capturing the essence of our humanity, our suffering, our struggle with the belief in unity and the interconnectedness that is in all of us.
Kiersten Dunbar Chace is a human rights activist/advocate and an award winning indie film producer and director with Mondé World Films who, for 25 years, focused her lens on South Africa and is currently immersed in the history of Southern Arizona near the borderlands.
Her love for visual storytelling has inspired her love of photography. In 2009, Chace produced her first feature length film ‘I’m Not Black, I’m Coloured - Identity Crisis at the Cape of Good Hope’ which explored the legacy of apartheid from the viewpoint of the Khoe/Cape Coloured community. The film won an Audience Choice award at the Africa World Documentary Film Festival and has featured at several US and International Film Festivals and over 60 Universities. In September 2014, Chace's film was one of two selected to present at the prestigious academic conference Migrating the Black Body: Visual Arts and the African Diaspora in Hanover Germany.
In 2017, Kiersten served as a human rights defender at the United Nations Universal Periodic Review working session in Geneva, Switzerland and with a small South African team, shared their human rights grievances. Her latest film Word of Honour: Reclaiming Mandela's Promise was screened at the Palais des Nations before members of the UN. Kiersten also served as an observer at the United Nations in Geneva 2016, when a Shadow Report was presented/submitted to the Int'l Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This report cited South Africa as being in violation of the UN CERD Treaty/Convention. The film I'm Not Black, I'm Coloured was used as a supplemental neutral piece to help educate UN members on the history and struggle of the Coloured communities of South Africa.
Her second project was a short film Tami Tushie's Toys which she produced with Melody Gilbert and a great team of filmmakers from Minnesota as part of an international competition. The film won the Audience Choice Award at Int'l Doc Challenge (Hot Docs Toronto), featured at the Minneapolis Int'l Film Festival, and appeared on the Documentary Channel. In 2011, she released the documentary 'Solveig - The Life and Artwork of Solveig Arneng Johnson' which was also featured at several US festivals. Kiersten also consulted and filmed on the upcoming Bio-Doc 'Conspiracy to Be Free: The Russell Means Story'.
Kiersten completed her sequel film project 'Word of Honour: Reclaiming Mandela's Promise' which is an introspective look into South Africa's young democracy as well as a meditation on what may be looming on the horizon for the Coloured people of South Africa. The film was featured at the Twin Cities Film Festival 2016, Barcelona Human Rights Film Festival, Vancouver South African Film Festival, and the United Nations Int'l Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.
Her latest project Munguía was released in October 2022 and tells the story of a mestizo rancher in Southern Arizona whose dwelling, after 135+ years, still stands along the San Pedro River. In 2005, preservation archaeologist Jacquie Dale, submitted the Munguía homestead to the Arizona Site Steward program for protection and monitoring. 17 years later, filmmaker and site steward Kiersten Dunbar Chace, visits the Munguía site to monitor and document the home and discovers a rich ancestry dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. This was supported by the Arizona State Parks, Bureau of Land Management and the Arizona Site Steward program.
Chace is currently working on a memoir 'Nomonde's Sojourn', documenting her work in South Africa and other journeys and experiences from around the globe.
* Member of the Critical Mixed Race Studies Global Caucus
* Volunteer - Arizona Archaeological Site Steward program
Chace's grasp of her subject is not just the result of experience and research alone, but an unusual understanding of the complexity of human dynamics. This gives her the capacity to present complicated issues in a clear and simple way that is immediately comprehensible to the viewer. "Understanding of all the players, whether victim or perpetrator, is important in my storytelling. To search deeper into the mindset and motivation behind a difficult situation, whether it is right or wrong, justified or not."
When watching Kiersten’s films she calls us to consider what a transcendent state of consciousness might be like and recognizes the deep underlying similarities we all share vs superficial differences capturing the essence of our humanity, our suffering, our struggle and to present the belief in unity and the interconnectedness that is in all of us.