It’s almost unbelievable that in less that 48 hours I’ll be on a plane headed to a completely different country, continent, season, and hemisphere. Just yesterday I graduated from Pacific Lutheran University, following in the same steps of Edwin and the others. It is surreal to be beginning a new challenge so suddenly. I have my passport and my itinerary. I have a phone with a Namibian number and power adaptors; these are the mundanities that make it real. So, I know I’m not imagining things.
I am so fortunate and privileged to have this opportunity, and I only hope that I can learn from their life histories and I can help to tell their story respectfully. Filmmaking has always been a love of mine, and I think it is necessary to do so with social justice at the heart of it. That is the power of documentary film that I find so arresting – the power to help make the world a little more thoughtful and contemplative.
Nothing gets me more impassioned than a meaningful story. I still remember when Joanne asked me if I wanted to be a part of this thing. She knows how to make the pitch. She makes the hardest work sound phenomenal (and it usually is!). I am not one to turn down an adventure like the one I am about to embark on. This is the stuff independent filmmakers dream of.
When I think about the obstacles that The Nine faced I know there are few stories that are more meaningful to us now than equity, education, and social change. I never faced the realities of coming of age in a newly independent country that codified laws keeping Black Namibians out of higher education. However, I am not so naive to think that the United States has not had similar legal structures in place to disadvantage those of darker skin. After all, it’s not that long ago that the Brown v. Board of Education case was heard in our Supreme Court. We still feel the aftermath of education tracking even now in this country. This is a story not only meaningful to Namibia, but all over the world.
So, no pressure.
I am feeling a lot of excitement mixed with a healthy dose of self-doubt. No complex storytelling project dependent upon technological and narrative skills is devoid of that. But I do know that nothing beats a hardworking, committed, enthusiastic, and open-minded team. And my fellow filmmakers have those qualities in spades.
Here’s to 20+ hours of plane travel, jet lag, learning, and a lot of the unknown.