“A most useful educational tool”

September 12, 2013

Michael Parenti, author of Democracy for the Few and The Face of Imperialism

This film reveals a neglected chapter of US colonialism and the struggle for justice and democracy that continues to this day. An informative, well done, compassionate story, and a most useful educational tool.

“Visually engaging, tightly edited and well-paced”

September 10, 2013

Don Rubenstein, Professor of Anthropology and Micronesian Studies at the University of Guam
Review published by Asian Educational Media Service

The Insular Empire is a visually engaging, tightly edited and well-paced film. The film is also thoroughly researched and accurate in its treatment of a lengthy historical chronology and complex political landscape. Buyers of an institutional copy of the film can also get the access code to a 22-page Screening and Study Guide that provides supplementary background material, additional references, links to related websites, and suggestions for setting up film screenings. The Insular Empire is an excellent teaching tool for high school and college classes in American government, history, politics, and Pacific Studies, and for consideration of questions of imperialism, colonialism, and self-determination. This is an important documentary film, which deserves wide viewing and thoughtful discussion.

“A Must-See Teaching Tool”

September 20, 2011

J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Assoc. Prof. of American Studies/Anthropology at Wesleyan University, and author of Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity

The Insular Empire is a must-see teaching tool… this excellent project grapples with the moral and legal questions regarding imperialism, military expansion, and self-determination in a way that is brilliantly incisive without being heavy handed.

“The American empire at home”

November 12, 2010

Andrew Feldman, Foreign Policy in Focus
By raising uncomfortable questions about the vestiges of imperialism in our democracy, The Insular Empire is effective at telling the story of a people whose perspective has been absent for far too long.

(Full text of the review can be found here.)

“Brilliant, heartbreaking and beautiful… a lasting tribute”

September 16, 2010

Travis Coffman, Newstalk K57, Guam
I have covered the Marianas for nearly 20 years as a journalist and broadcaster, and this feature captures the essence of the relationship between the U.S. and its possessions more accurately than any single work I’ve ever come across. It is at once brilliant, heartbreaking and beautiful without pandering to anyone’s particular agenda. It will stand, I know as a lasting tribute to the men and women so affectionately and authentically portrayed in this compelling celebration of a truth that remains untold to much of America.

“The history they didn’t teach us in school”

June 16, 2010

The Huffington Post
“Guam: Self-Determination or More U.S. Troops?” by Robert Naiman

Usually, when someone refers to a place as a “U.S. colony,” they are making an analogy, suggesting that U.S. influence somewhere is so strong, and the indigenous residents of the place have so little effective say over key decisions, that it’s as if the place were a formal U.S. colony.  (read the entire review here)

“Beautiful and moving… should be a wake-up call for all Americans.”

June 11, 2010

Chalmers Johnson, Prof. Emeritus of Political Science, UC San Diego, and Author of the Blowback Trilogy:

“This very beautiful and moving film deals with some “hidden history” about American imperialism. Nor is it only history, since the U.S. government is about to inflict a still greater military base expansion on Guam, which its ecology cannot possibly sustain. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such an impressive documentary – The Insular Empire should be a wake-up call for all Americans.”

“A valuable resource for teaching and organizing.”

May 20, 2010

The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus
Film Review by John Junkerman

Mention “The Insular Empire” to the average American, and they’d likely have no idea what you were talking about. They probably still wouldn’t get it if you gave them another clue: “America in the Mariana Islands.” These are the title and subtitle of a new film by Vanessa Warheit, which began screening on PBS earlier this year.

It is the singular misfortune of the residents of Guam and the Northern Marianas to have been born on tiny islands of great strategic value in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The consequence has been their colonial subordination for four centuries to a succession of empires… (read the entire review here)

“A real achievement of lasting value.”

May 13, 2010

Don Brenneis, Professor of Anthropology, UC Santa Cruz:
“The Insular Empire is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of American colonialism – and of the painful ironies of contemporary empire in the Marianas and beyond. A real achievement of lasting value.”


May 13, 2010

Zoltan Grossman, Professor of Geography, Evergreen State College:
“For Americans who think that colonialism is a relic of the past, or that military expansion is merely a recent response to 9/11, this compelling film documents the longstanding negative effects of military colonization and bases on the people of Guam and the Northern Marianas. It also shows the human face of this history, and how the cultures of the Chamorro and Carolinian peoples have been undermined by the U.S. military presence, yet still persevere and serve as sources of pride and resistance.”