John Curtin’s "A Song for Africa"

Written by  //  October 4, 2007  //  News about Wednesday Nighters, People Meta  //  No comments

One of the 2007 recipients of the Deborah Fletcher Award of Excellence in Film making on International Development
A Song for Africa (Kaos Productions) follows18 young members of the Watoto Children’s Choir as they prepare for a tour of Canada and the United States. Like the other children living in the Canadian-run orphanage near Kampala, Uganda, these youngsters have lost their parents and relatives to AIDS, other diseases, or to civil war: they bear deep emotional and psychological wounds. During several months of intensive vocal coaching by dedicated music teacher Jennifer Banas from Spruce Grove, Alberta, the children gradually gain confidence and literally find their voices. By the time they arrive in North America, they are outgoing and passionate performers whose emotionally charged singing and dancing inspires audiences of adults and children alike. Set against the backdrop of a country, Uganda, plagued by war and disease, this story radiates hope and the healing power of love and music. The film premiered on Vision TV in 2006 and made its French debut on ARTV in 2007.
Director John Curtin is a Montreal filmmaker and journalist with 25 years’ experience in television, radio and print. As well as directing A Song for Africa, he has produced and directed fourteen one-hour documentaries that have been broadcast on the CBC, BBC, PBS, ARD, NHK, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, and others.
A Song for Africa was selected for the exceptional creativity of its storytelling, and its superior production qualities. The judges were impressed with the strong narrative and the passionate and articulate central characters. This moving and entertaining documentary offers a strong, emotional message of hope: before our eyes, these marginalized children living in a war-torn country grow in confidence and self-empowerment through the vehicle of music and choir.

Note: This is a truly beautiful and very moving film (a three-hankie one in the opinion of one Wednesday Nighter). It was suggested during the award ceremony that people should invest in one copy for their local library, one for their local school, or the school their children attend, and a third to show to friends and family. We concur.

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