14 Miles: Dispatches from an Island in Alaska
14 Miles is a portrait of a time and place. The setting is Sitka, an island in the panhandle of Southeast Alaska. It is a town of less than 9,000 people surrounded by mountains and ocean.
14 Miles is an experiment in short-form storytelling. Departing from the long-form documentary, this project will publish new stories every month. Serious, wry, curious: we’re digging and uncovering what might get passed by, even in a remote town with only 14 miles of road from one end to the other.
Each short film will be between two and four minutes in length. The stories we want to share are local, but universal too. 14 Miles will share how this place connects, and at times doesn't, to the world "off the rock."
To keep up with us, check back on this page and stay tuned for our upcoming YouTube Channel! We invite people to participate, to suggest stories and create videos about the places they live.
Episode 1: Our Journey Begins
We live in a time of dramatic change--politically, ecologically, socially, economically--changes that are well documented in the media, news, and on social media. But what do these things mean for everyday people? What do new policies, weather patterns, migration changes, gun laws, mean for smaller communities, particularly a small town in southeast Alaska and what does daily life look like now? We are digging and uncovering what just might get passed by, even on an island town with only 14 miles of road from one end to the other. Using the local stories to ask universal questions--what does it mean to live in a community? Who are our neighbors? We want to post new episodes every other week or two, exploring those questions.
Episode 2: Giving Back We know how the last year of climate events, elections, laws, and legislation affect the country on a large scale. How can people find local connections and ways to give back? Here is one example. Thanks to Alaska Dave and the Salvation Army Corps. We're curious to hear about other examples in our community and beyond.
Episode 3: Guns and Democracy
On this episode of 14 Miles, we talk with former Sitka City Manager Mark Gorman about his experience in government. What does it mean to be a engaged in a community? What should a community expect of its citizens? These are the complicated questions we're exploring.
Episode 4: Family Business
This episode of 14 Miles raises the challenges of making ends meet in Sitka and the possibilities of starting a new business. How do new Marijuana laws impact the economy of a small town? How does the fast-growing cost of living influence who leaves and who stays?
Episode 5: Saturday in Sitka
We wanted to release Episode 5 on Thanksgiving, as we shared food, thinking about what brings us together. How do we build community and support each other? What do we participate in and care about?Wanted to also note the song, "Tsu héidei shugaxhtootaan (Celebration Entrance Song)" in the Native American Heritage Month and Veteran’s Day parade was composed by Harold Jacobs Jr, from a speech by elder George Davis, and gifted to the Sealaska Heritage Institute. It is based on the words, “We will open again this container of wisdom.”
Episode 6: Before the Curtain
Before the Curtain looks at Sitka School of Dance's annual Nutcracker preparations. This year, the school will present an Alaska-themed Nutcracker, featuring dancers as eagles, herring, bears, and crab. Outside of Sitka, what are your community's winter traditions? How do they reflect the geography of the place you live? How have they changed as your community changes?
Feedback and Ideas Welcome
We want feedback on the stories we make. Have an idea for a short? Want to help make a 14 Miles story? Prompted to go document similar stories in the place where you live? Simply want to share some thoughts you had after watching our stories? Cont