Brian McDermott is a filmmaker and former social worker. Brian directed and produced Language Healers, a documentary film about saving and revitalizing Native American languages—which was selected to screen at the 10th Aljazeera International Documentary Film Festival as well as many other festivals, events and symposiums including: the 2016 Red Nation Film Festival; the 2016 Maoriland Film Festival; the 2016 Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival; the 2014 World Indigenous Film Festival; the 130th MLA Convention held in Vancouver in January 2015; the Stabilizing Indigenous Languages Symposium at the University of Hawaii, Hilo; the University of Wisconsin—Madison for International Mother Language Day; and The University of Texas—Arlington for CoLang 2014. The movie was also mentioned in the Huffington Post as one of the films helping to empower individuals to take action to rescue endangered languages and it was voted by Intercontinental Cry Magazine as one of the “ten films you need to watch on International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples.”
Brian's documentary, We Are All Related Here, about the Yup'ik village of Newtok, Alaska, that must relocate due to erosion and flooding, recently screened at the 2017 Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for Native American Heritage Month, the 2016 Sustainability Film Series at the University of Minnesota, at the 2016 Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival, the 2016 Alaska Forum on the Environment Film Festival, the 2016 Colorado Environmental Film Festival, and was an Official Selection of the 12th Indigenous Film and Arts Festival in Denver. The film had its world premiere at the 2015 Anchorage International Film Festival where it was awarded Honorable Mention for the best film made in Alaska, and the trailer for the movie was also presented by the International Organization for Migration in an exhibition to over 4,000 visitors at the National Museum of the History of Immigration in Paris as part of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21).
More recently, Brian completed two other documentaries — Marathon for Justice (2016), a film on how pollution and environmental degradation disproportionately affect people of color and Half-Mile, Upwind, On Foot (2019), which tells the story of communities who are working to challenge two different pipeline projects in Pennsylvania that are considered by many to be disruptive, dangerous, and unnecessary.
Marathon for Justice recently screened in events at Appalachian State University, Wesleyan University, The University of Cincinnati, Loyola University, The University of Montana, Northern Arizona University, California State University San Marcos, The University of Southern Maine, The University of Illinois at Chicago, Western Washington University, and at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.
Since being released, Half-Mile, Upwind, On Foot is now being used as a teaching tool on pipelines and environmental justice by over 50 universities.
Brian holds an MFA in Film and Media Arts from Temple University and an MSW in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania.