DOCNZ: The New Zealand International Documentary Film Festival


The questions in this story about faith, family, and what it means to find your own place and identity are universal -Jim Hanon, Director


The Grandfathers

USA 2011 / 54min. / Waodani with English subtitles.
Director Jim Hanon. Producer Mart Green.

Jesse Saint never knew his grandfather Nate – he only knew the story of Nate. Nate lived with the Waodani Indians of Ecuador and cared deeply for the people. He died a martyr, murdered by one of the members of the tribe. Jesse’s father, Steve, was called a “hero of the faith” for helping the Waodanis end a cycle of spear-killings that claimed Nate and decimated their own members.

Jesse Saint has big boots to fill.

In this motion graphics film, director Jim Hanon ventures into this remarkable story from the perspective of Jesse. Jesse has always struggled to find his place in a world dominated by the memory of a famous grandfather he never knew and a heroic father he cannot understand.

Jesse visits the Waodanis and in the heart of the jungle, Jesse begins to build his own uncommon life. He has to navigate his feelings about the three men responsible for his grandfather’s death and for whom he begins to develop affection and respect for. These men have in turn become his grandfathers.

Fusing film shot deep in the Amazon jungle with visionary design and animation, this motion graphics film is a moving tribute to a young man’s quest for significance and purpose, and his remarkable impact on the three tribal elders who, unwittingly, are on a quest of their own.


The Grandfathers Trailer

Find similar films by topic: Ethnic, Family, Personal/POV.


Festivals and Awards

  • Artivisit FF 2011
  • HotSprings DFF 2011

Film Reviews

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Documentary Edge Festival 2012

Generations (2/8)

Screening in Auckland

Sat 28 Apr
Time Venue/Notes Book Tickets
1:45pm Event Cinemas NewmarketBook 
Thu 3 May
Time Venue/Notes Book Tickets
2pm Auckland Art GalleryBook 
Wed 9 May
Time Venue/Notes Book Tickets
5:45pm Event Cinemas NewmarketBook 

Screens With

Other Cities

Programme p.51

The Grandfathers Print Source

EthnoGraphic Media