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Sunday, April 4, 2010

A special film preview for Kimani, Ruth and Caroline

I decided to test all our equipment and make sure the screening would go off without problems. The HBEF team and I also decided that we should probably show the film to the 3 lead kids and their families before the public screening. Kikuyu people are very private and there are a lot of intimate details in this film. They are excited we are bringing the film back to the village but I really wanted to make sure they weren't horribly embarrassed at the big screening.

It was a good thing we showed it to them. It was amazing to watch their faces when they saw the film. I didn't take pictures or video, I wanted them to just be able to absorb what would be shown without feeling watched over.
There were moments were the kids were laughing hysterically and other times when their faces revealed that the film was extremely real for them.

When the screening was over there was silence. I explained that I knew that there were deeply personal things revealed in the movie and that I knew they told me things they probably wouldn't have told their own neighbors. I explained that I knew seeing all their problems exposed might make them uncomfortable, but I wanted to make sure the story was touching. I wanted to show the complete reality of what their families go through when trying to put their kids through school. I told them I brought the film back, so they would know exactly what audiences would see and I wanted to answer any questions they had about what I had put in the story. Slowly they started to talk, telling me they didn't think the film would be as real as it was. They said it was very, very touching. It made them feel both happy and sad. In the end they said the film showed the truth, and because it was all true it was good that I was going to show it, both here and abroad.

After the talk was done. We all went outside for tea. There seemed to be a huge amount of bonding and relief. They were teasing me, telling me I need to marry a Kikuyu because I know so much about them. We all laughed and laughed and had a terrific time.

Now we are really ready for the screening tomorrow. I think it is going to be intense for all of us to show the film here.

PHOTOS: Jen and Caroline. Jen with Kimani and family. Testing the equipment.
The "movie stars" Ruth, Kimani and Caroline after the pre-screening of the film - relieved and happy!


  1. That is so beautiful... thank you for sharing this, the reactions of the people involved. It's also a bit of a relief, I suppose, that you have anxiety over whether you show TOO much; there's a strong, but hard-to-determine line between showing what you need to, and what you should be showing as an outsider.

    I think that the fact you care so much about what the subjects of your film feel shows great respect. I'm sure they appreciate that greatly, and a respectful approach to a difficult doc/film makes for a more honest and powerful result. Asante!

  2. Thank you for this comment. It is true, it is a fine line between making an honest film and making an exploitative film. It was an amazing moment for me when the three kids got up at the public screening and said they were proud to be in the movie - that was great!

  3. I'm excited to share even more activities and ideas with you! The first edition (happy dance!) comes out Sunday morning, December 11th! Here's a sneak peek of what's inside

    foreign affair