“The film made me think about my roots and I wanted to start this conversation with my whole family, both older and younger so we could all communicate and learn from one another. It also made me think about our society and the values we have and teach to the youth on comparison to other cultures. It’s so important to try and understand the emotions of other people so that we can better organize and articulate our own feelings.”
As you know, I am passionate about finding ways to infuse our activism with art (and vice versa), which is why I produce videos for non-profits working to address social justice issues in my off hours…
Did you know that domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness for women and children in the US?
Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) has teamed up with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop the Domestic Violence Housing First Project–a project which eliminates lack of housing as a reason why survivors might stay in an abusive relationship.
Over a three year period, we will produce a series of 14 videos that show how DV Housing First is being implemented and creating lasting change in the lives of survivors and strengthening communities across Washington state.
And I’m so honored that our first video is featured in the Gates Foundation’s blog! Marie Sauter says in her post, “Watching this video brings tears of awe and gratitude every time.”
One down. Thirteen to go.
The centerpiece film is “A Lot Like You,” a documentary written and directed by Eliaichi Kimaro. The tagline for the film is “The Truth Has No Borders,” and it centers on Kimaro’s search for herself, growing up as a multiracial first-generation American.
“I think if there’s a film that really speaks to our mission statement, that would be it,” Pamela Quan [Assoc Dir of DisOrient Film Festival] says.
“At first when we saw the submission of the film, it was like, ‘OK, dad’s from Tanzania, mom’s Korean, how is this all going to work?’ We watched it and I think everybody feels like that film was made for them when they see it, because you question who you are.”
Set mostly in Tanzania, the discoveries that Kimaro makes about her past are gripping, touching on everything from achieving the American dream to a cultural tendency to sweep shocking violence under the rug.
“A Lot Like You” is scheduled to show Saturday at 3:30 p.m. A Q&A with Kimaro, her husband, Tom Kenney, and their daughter, Lucy, follows.
~ Excerpt from The Register-Guard (April 26, 2013) by Jackie Varriano
Intro by National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC):
Oftentimes, we think of impact as something that is measured subsequent to an event or intervention of significance. But Eliaichi Kimaro suggests, in this artsENGAGE post, that impact is also valuable research for designing that particular intervention.
Eli is the director of the documentary film A Lot Like You. In this post, she describes the process of designing the A Lot Like You (ALLY) Project, the interactive and engagement components of the film’s outreach. This campaign aims to partner with nonprofits and educational institutions to explore issues of identity and belonging, and the role of storytelling in encouraging those difficult conversations. To design this campaign, the ALLY team has been gauging impact by inviting audiences to share their personal experiences of the film so as to best harness its potential to generate forward-thinking conversation. To read some of the personal reflections audience members have shared after viewing the film, visit the ALLY Flickr stream here.
. . . . . . . . . . .
As a first-time filmmaker, my learning curve over the past 10 years has been steep! Our film, A Lot Like You, explores the lens we all bring to the story of our lives–the stories we inherit, and the stories we pass down about who we are and where we come from.
During our 10-year film journey, the popularity of documentaries soared while the US economy collapsed. Many funding resources dried up. And the few remaining funders were looking to fund films that exposed injustice and inspired people to take concrete, measurable action. And so we saw a surge in the number of engaging, informative single-issue docs that came complete with a clearly-defined call to action.
By comparison, my film offered up none of these things. In addition to being a novice filmmaker, I am a queer, mixed-race daughter of immigrants making a personal film about my family on Mt. Kilimanjaro. No one famous. Just people.
Our story also cuts across multiple issues. Over the course of the film, we witness how our experiences of family, culture, class, race, gender and trauma all play a role in shaping our sense of identity and belonging. We had to resist considerable pressure to simplify our story. And we had no way of predicting, let alone measuring, the film’s eventual social impact.
A Lot Like You premiered at the 2011 Seattle International Film Festival, and has been on the festival, campus and conference circuit ever since. Over the past 2 years, we’ve come to discover that the undeniable gift of A Lot Like You is its power to ignite dialogue and inspire deep introspection.
The ripple effect of truth telling that begins on the screen carries through to our post-screening conversations. And the change these conversations bring about can be truly profound and long-lasting. Continue reading →
Though I’m young enough to pass as a digital native, I’m old enough to remember a quiet time before there was facebook.
I remember well my first, naïve foray into the vast expanses of the internet, before I knew just how deeply it would change our world. When our family finally signed up for AOL, I remember meeting up with my friends at lunchtime and whispering excitedly about our plans to meet on instant messager later that evening. I would rush to the living room after dinner and wait impatiently for the neolithic, sputtering sounds of dialup to finish on our HP Pavilion, so that I could make my virtual date.
I remember one evening my dad looking over from the couch, puzzled at the unfamiliar sounds of internet chatter, asking what we had to talk about, given that we spent all day together.
The truth was — very little. We had at least two breaks and recess to catch up in person that day, and knew with confidence we would see each other at eight thirty the next morning, as we did each morning of the fourth grade. We were so smitten with the internet, that the content of our conversations fell second to the novelty of mode and mechanism.
My dad, who still hunts and pecks at his keyboard with one index finger, asked a question that day that foreshadowed many of the fears that would unravel around the rapid connectedness that the digital age has brought. Continue reading →
Filmmaker Eliaichi Kimaro’s intensely personal documentary grew from a desire to explore her roots. Born to a Tanzanian father and Korean mother, but raised in America, Elaichi felt trapped between cultures, truly belonging to none. In an attempt to connect with and understand her heritage, she decided to travel with her parents to visit her father’s tribe in the Mt. Kilimanjaro region of Africa. She hoped to gather enough material to make a film out of her experiences.
Her film didn’t turn out exactly that way she’d envisioned. When she arrives in Tanzania, she finds herself kept at a distance by her father’s family, until one day when she approaches her aunts to talk about their lives, and they open up to her in a way that they never had with anyone before. They speak of a culture’s subjugation of women, of female circumcision and forced marriages. Kimaro’s sudden connection to the women is deepened by her own background of abuse. A powerful and thought-provoking film exploration of identity and conflicts of culture, her film emerges as one of the highlights of this year’s festival.
Our film screensApril 20 @ 9:30pm at The Little Theater, followed by a Q&A with Director Eliaichi Kimaro.
More info + tickets here.
This film moved me in a powerful way because not only do the experiences that Eli went through ring true for me, but also many of my friends and family members. Through this sort of medium (film/art), it helps making important issues such as identity, rape, abuse, etc. easier to talk about.
This was a really powerful film. As a mixed person myself, who has always struggled with the idea of “home”, this brought up a lot of feelings I can relate to. Thank you for your art and vulnerability. Mad respect.