Is there a particular documentary film or filmmaker that had a major influence on your career?
Dreams Are Colder Than Death
What motivated you to make this film?
I felt compelled to do everything in my power to give even the smallest platform to these incredibly resilient, inspiring, people. The women of Konye Ki Cingi are underprivileged, African women, who have nearly no political representation and no platform to tell their stories of strife and triumph to a greater audience. I found their stories to be too important and too inspiring for them to go completely unnoticed by a larger audience.
Please tell us what camera(s) you shot with primarily – and any other special equipment that you used and why you used it.
Canon 5D Mk ii
Please tell us about any special styles or techniques that you used during the production of your impact video to help tell your story.
I focused heavily on composing the portraits in environments that added additional commentary to the character on screen. The subjects often forgot about the camera while I filmed our long conversations and I found some of the most unguarded on-camera moments when the subject was in between speaking. I used these silent moments as visuals over their interviews to bring the narrative beyond a practical representation of a standard interview.
How did your story evolve from day one, to the very last day in post? Is your story what you thought it would be?
The story evolved to be less about the specific village (Agwata) and more about the women in Agwata who had done something tremendous by starting this women’s support group. I decided that it was less important to profile Agwata and more important to profile the personal stories that were really a scope into a larger truth of the post-war experience.
Please describe the most rewarding experience you had while making this film.
Carrying the great responsibility of sharing the women’s stories from an unrealistic idea of making an independent film, through months of work, to finally arrive at a finished video. That’s been a source of pride in my young adult life. I’ve also had a countless amount of learning lessons and challenges that have made a more dynamic filmmaker and a more compassionate person.
What advice can you give to other impact filmmakers?
Listen aggressively. Listen above all else, to the environment, to the subjects, allow the reality that the people are communicating to you to show in the video beyond the filmmakers original storytelling intention.
What’s your favorite part about the filmmaking process and why?
Production is my favorite part. Hearing the experiences of people who’ve lived specific lives and are able to share their stories in a way that can shine light on an issue or help others further the understanding of their experience. As a visual artist I also really love finding compositions and creating images in new places.
What’s the one item you always take with you when working out in the field and why?
A reading light and a notepad. I often read late into the night during production, researching. I always write lots of notes through production. Processing the day I had, what I learned, what ideas came out of that day, and I write those stream of conscious. I’m almost always sharing a room, or on location where there’s not 24 hr power, so a reading light gives me the ability to work anywhere at anytime.
Please provide a brief description of the work or organization featured in your video:
Centered on ‘Konye Ki Cingi’; a Ugandan Women’s Empowerment Group started by female survivors of the Northern Ugandan War. In search of rehabilitation, economic stability, and emotional support, the women of Konye Ki Cingi are asserting their independence and flipping conventional gender roles by being the primary financial providers in the small, rural, village of Agwata. Outreach Uganda is an NGO that supports these women with marketing tools to promote their business, micro-business loans, and foreign donations that allow Konye Ki Cingi’s efforts to steadily grow.
What have you learned about the value and impact of the project?
I’ve learned that the story is more important than the creative and the filmmaking. Megolonyo was the first film project I directed and I was nearly completely alone making it, so I had a lot of insecurity about how the project would turn out and that insecurity slowed me down from releasing the film or submitting it. I learned after sharing it with people close to me, that the substance of the film, the stories from the women, are so much more important than my fear of rejection as the storyteller.
Please share a personal story about your experience making this film.
Although I had contacts in the village, and only started shooting the video on my second trip to Agwata, I was concerned that the women would be hesitant to share with me their painful testimony. On my first day of interviews, I was surprised to see a long line of women and men lined up to speak to me about their experience. So many people lined up that I didn’t have time to get through even 1/10 of them. That first day of production taught me the urge people have to share their lives with the greater populous. The desire to be heard, the desire to allow their experiences to teach someone else something, or alter how others think of a situation. I was moved and inspired by their urgency to not let their histories die unrecorded.
What do you want audiences to take away from your film?
I want audiences to realize the complexity, the depth, the bravery, the intelligence of these female African entrepreneurs.
Please list key points that should be covered in a post-screening discussion:
International reactions to extreme violence in Africa, Humanitarian aid reform, resourcefulness in underprivileged communities, methods of addressing PTSD and how it manifests in women vs. men. Supporting women’s independence in Africa and how women are the most integral figures in healthy communities.
Please provide information on any recent developments regarding the issue or subjects of the film. How have things changed or not changed?
Konye Ki Cingi has continued to grow and Outreach Uganda has continued to support other women’s groups like them. The groups are in need of more support/contracts and have built a sustainable, jewelry business, that can handle large orders. Outreach Uganda has secured a large contract from Disney that has allowed women in another work group to put several of their kids through college and has allowed them to buy a large plot of land to build more homes and cultivate more land.
What opportunities are available for those interested in getting further involved?
Their are plenty of opportunities to get involved. From volunteering, to donating, to purchasing products made by the women in Northern Uganda. Visit https://outreachuganda.org/how-to-help/
Please provide any additional resources (websites, links to additional videos, forms, articles, etc.):
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