Monday, August 11, 2008

We Are Together: Orphans in South Africa sing


We Are Together: The Children of Agape Choir (“Thina Simunye”), directed by Paul Taylor, written with Slindile Moya, is a documentary about a children’s orphanage in South Africa. HBO presented it on August 11, 2008. Much of the story is seen through the eyes of 12-year-old Slindile. The children have been orphaned by the parents’ dying of AIDS, and some have siblings with AIDS. They find that singing this the one activity they can always do together. Paul actually came up with the idea of the film on a volunteer mission trip.

They travel to Britain, and eventually to New York State and New York City (in winter), to raise money for their orphanage, which burns once and must be rebuilt.

The music consists mostly of a cappella singing of spirituals, with some accompaniment when they travel.

The film shows graphic scenes of illness in a couple of spots. Women in this culture often become infected with HIV despite monogamy. Abstinence or the use of protection is not practical for women in this culture. Blood loyalties are extreme, and children readily accept responsibility for siblings.

The scenery is rather lush compared to what often appears in South Africa. The political history of the people, relative to past apartheid, isn't presented.

There is a link at which the film can be watched, at "Snag Films", here.

1 comment:

Minjae said...

Hi Bill - thanks for adding the link to the film's page on SnagFilms! I just wanted to reach out to you about We Are Together after having seen your post about its broadcast on HBO this week, just so that any of your readers who missed it can check out the whole film on our site. One can also grab a widget of the film to place on blogs or social network profiles.

Snag Films was created to provide a forum for documentary films that may not have yet reached their potential audience, and we are also hoping that SnagFilms can help encourage "filmanthropy" through the movie-watching experience, promoting social causes to a worldwide audience. Each film on SnagFilms features a relevant nonprofit organization based on the issue tackled in the film. In some cases, the filmmakers have designated specific organizations, and in other cases, we link to a charity designated by Global Giving. In the case of We Are Together, we're working with Keep A Child Alive to get the word about the film and the cause.

Thank you again for taking time to check out We Are Together on SnagFilms!