imba! will bring together the playfulness and bittersweet beauty of childhood in a cinematic adventure through North America via the lens of Moses and Angel, two African children on a journey that will change the course of their lives forever.
Their experience is documented as they perform in venues across the country, acting as the ambassadors for Africa's most vulnerable children. Their goal, to raise awareness and show that despite the desolate circumstances they come from, they have beauty, dignity, hope and unlimited potential.
Our film stands out from the rest for two main reasons: 1) the entire story will be magically told through the eyes of children and 2) much like the Choir itself, the film is not about what Westerners bring to help Africa, instead it is about gift of song and joy that these African children are bringing to us.
We will come alongside their journey and invite the viewer to experience Angel and Moses’ poverty, poignancy, hope and humor.
This Grammy-nominated group began in Uganda during a bloody civil war in 1984. Over the past 28 years they have expanded into six more African nations – Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria. Over 1,000 children have been members of the 39 Choirs and over 52,000 children have been educated thanks to support and funding from the Choir.
Children selected for the African Children’s Choir are extremely vulnerable – either orphaned or living on less than $2 a day. They cannot afford to attend school. Thanks to the Choir, these talented kids will have their education funded through university. Former Choir members are now some of Africa’s most promising and prominent young leaders lifting their communities up on their own.
The Choir has performed with stars such as Elton John, Paul McCartney, Mariah Carey, Dispatch, John Legend, Queen, Josh Groban; for dignitaries including the Queen of England, Nelson Mandela, Presidents Clinton and Bush; and on records such as Annie Lennox’s Christmas album, the Blood Diamond soundtrack and American Idol Gives Back.
Our core crew is made up of four award-winning filmmakers, photographers and journalists. The Producer, Erin Levin, is a humanitarian journalist and filmmaker. Her production and outreach experience ranges from ABC and CNN to the Peace Corps and non-profits around the world.
The Co-Directors are Danielle Bernstein and Michael Dunaway. Danielle is a filmmaker dedicated to creating work that addresses a wide range of social issues. She partners compelling documentary film with people and organizations who can offer solutions; moving audiences to action. Michael is the Editor of the Film Section of Paste Magazine. He is also the producer and director of PBS documentary The Man Who Ate New Orleans.
Jason Maris is our Director of Photography. He is an editorial and commercial photographer with over 15 years of experience in the industry. As a Getty photographer his work has been published worldwide. We are also hiring local crews across the US, Canada and Uganda.
We have raised approximately $100,000, one-fifth of our budget, to date. We have filmed the back-stories of Moses, Angel, the African chaperones and the Choir in Uganda and had two shoots with them in the States. Over the next year we will film a number of star-studded shows, long heartland bus rides, American monuments and countless interesting interactions with the Choir. Next summer we will return with them to Uganda to capture their transition home and into the African Children’s Choir Primary Boarding School. Our expected release is early 2014 – the Choir’s 30th anniversary.