I haven't even seen this film A Small Act yet, but I am already completely overwhelmed.
The award-winning documentary tells the story of Chris Mburu in Kenya and how his life changed dramatically when a Swedish women, Hilde Back, sponsored his primary and secondary education. Today Chris is a Harvard absolvent and he invites Hilde to Kenya to see what her generosity helped to create.
Here's the trailer:
photo: Jennifer Arnold, Chris Mburu, Hilde Back, Jane Wanjiru Muigai @ the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.
I wanted to learn more about the filmmaker, Jennifer Arnold. I found this video interview, which has some interesting insight into how the film came about. I also found a great interview with her on HBO's website. I pulled this from that interview:
... because [Hilde] is Jewish, she had to leave Germany, and her parents were both sent to concentration camps. So that history of being Jewish, not just being Jewish but being Jewish in Germany during WWII, that's the thing I think that really defines her view on giving. Hilde was helped by a total stranger - it was someone that she didn't know that helped her get out of Germany, and because of that, I think that's why she wants to give back.
When we went to Sundance, we really hoped that people would like the film. You know, you spend a lot of time on a movie, you hope audiences like it. But the thing that we didn't expect was that audience members, right after they saw this movie, started saying "Well how much does it cost to sponsor a student? Because I want to do my own small act." And they started coming down to me, and to Chris and Hilde, who were also at Sundance. And literally, they started handing us checks. There was one person in the audience who said "I have $5,000 dollars, who's going to match it?" And suddenly, all these donations were coming in. And over the course of 10 days, which is the length of the Sundance Film Festival, ninety thousand dollars was donated to the fund. On top of that there were these situations like Bill Gates being in the audience. He waited in line to meet Chris, and Hilde, and we heard he cried during the film ... and we met George Soros, and ended up having lunch with him.
Now, where to see it?! Amazingly, it's screening tomorrow in my current city, and also next door to my law school's campus in White Plains, NY!
When: February 10th, 6:30 – 8:30pm (Please arrive early – screening will begin at 6:45pm.)
Where: 285 Main Street, San Francisco
What: Please register here and bring $10 for your ticket in cash. Your money supports a girl in Kenya with a full scholarship!
FEBRUARY 10, 2011, 7:00 PM
Presented by the RDC Social Justice Board at Sisters of Divine Compassion
Convention Reception Room
Good Counsel Covenant
52 North Broadway
White Plains, NY
More information: Sr. Jane Keegan
Also lots of other places - check here.
If you can't attend a screening then you can support their work by making a donation to Chris' org that he founded in Hilde's name, Hilde Back Education Fund.