Welcome to the first post of the TUMAINI FILM PROJECT.
I have long been enchanted by the power of film in international advocacy work; the way it brings global issues into the living room and connects human beings across continents. This interest became much more two years ago when I first read about Frank Murithi, a man who sought to overcome the crime, disease, and poverty devastating Kibera by using one of Kenya’s most sacred traditions. A track and field coach by profession, his vision was simple, yet extraordinary: teach the kids to run. His hope was that through athletics he could provide Kibera’s youth with the discipline, structure, and opportunity that normally eludes “street children.” He may not be able to adopt them all, but he could train them all. For me, a former collegiate track-athlete-turned-humanitarian, this was a story that had to be told.
The months that followed were full of exciting developments, then tragic disappointments, and soon after, small victories. Frank established an official organization to institutionalize his work (launching in January 2012). I was introduced to a proper documentary film director whom I invited (read: begged) to join us. Then, just as we were gaining momentum, tragedy struck and everyone involved with the PROJECT went on hiatus. Truth be told, I became much more involved with Frank’s work on the ground than I should be as the documentarian; but I knew from day one there would be nothing traditional about this endeavor. (I challenge anyone who speaks to Frank about his dream of taking one of his Kibera athletes to the Olympics to somehow restrain themselves from selling their home to help make it happen).
Robert McKee said that storytelling is the most powerful way to insert ideas into the world. This is just the beginning of our adventure as Frank’s program in Kibera officially launches and we work to create a meaningful film. This blog will chronicle the journey of our PROJECT team as we work alongside world-class coaches and athletes in an intercontinental effort to create sustainable, positive change in one of the world’s most devastating slums.
Thank you for joining us!