Rebecca Kiil (2018)

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Rebecca is thrilled to be part of this year’s OHMA cohort and wonders why it took her so long to figure out that this was where she needed to be: having taken, at various points in her life, classes, workshops, and graduate courses in photography, documentary field studies, and multimedia storytelling; and having grown up listening to the stories of her family’s harrowing escape from their homeland of Estonia during World War II and thereby understanding first hand the power of storytelling. For the past five years, Rebecca has been helping her grandmother compile a memoir that details her escape from Stalin’s regime, which swallowed up her father and brother through arrest and deportation to Siberia, and which eventually took her husband as well.

Rebecca’s work on this story has evolved from providing basic assistance with typing pages of handwritten text five years ago, to full and mutual engagement with her grandmother today in a project that has led to Rebecca's filming her grandmother’s story, working with a literary agent and copyright attorneys to investigate the possibility of publishing her grandmother’s manuscript, filming the stories of other Estonians who fled at that same time (and wanting to record more), and most recently joining this year’s OHMA cohort in hopes of creating a platform to effectively capture and preserve those stories and  to then make them easily accessible. Rebecca is excited to go even deeper into this work and collaborate with, and be inspired by, both new and experienced storytellers and oral history innovators at OHMA.