'A Lot Like You' Screening
Award-winning Filmmaker Eliaichi Kimaro to visit University of Redlands
Free screening of Kimaro’s film: “A Lot Like You: The Culture We Inherit and the Legacies We Choose”
REDLANDS, Sept. 26, 2013—Campus Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Redlands is pleased to have Eliaichi “Ellie” Kimaro as a guest speaker on campus on Tuesday, October 1 at 7 p.m. in the Orton Center. Kimaro will be screening her latest film “A Lot Like You: The Culture We Inherit and the Legacies We Choose.”
Seattle-based filmmaker Eliaichi “Ellie” Kimaro is a mixed-race, first-generation American with a Tanzanian father and Korean mother. When Ellie was older and in an interracial relationship of her own, she wanted to better understand this world her father had left behind when he was 18 years old. When her father moved back to Tanzania for good, the filmmaker followed him to make a film about this culture she would one day pass down to her kids.
What Kimaro discovered on that trip— in Tanzania, in her family and in herself— is the subject of this personal award-winning documentary, “A Lot Like You.” As both a cultural insider and outsider, Kimaro asked questions that most people who grew up on Mt. Kilimanjaro would never think to ask. Much to Kimaro’s surprise, the stoic women in her family opened up, telling her stories about trauma and survival that they’d never even shared with each other as sisters.
Kimaro had to reconcile this culture she’s inherited with how she defines herself today—as a woman, as an activist and, perhaps most of all, as a mother. And in doing so, she finds a way to translate her father’s Chagga culture into her own personal legacy. “A Lot Like You” was named Best Documentary at the 30th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. A portion of the net proceeds from the film will help fund the construction of a girls’ dormitory at the Vunjo Secondary School in the Kimaro family village of Mwika.
Topics explored in the film:
Kimaro worked professionally as an activist/educator/counselor on issues related to gender violence, trauma and oppression for over 12 years before leaving for Tanzania to make this film. There, sitting with her aunts in a grass hut on the family’s farm on Mt. Kilimanjaro, she unknowingly tapped into their stories about surviving a lifetime of gender violence and abuse, the likes of which Kimaro had never heard before. This talk uses the film as a springboard for opening up new avenues for dialogue, understanding and healing.
Mixed-race and Multicultural Issues:
According to U.S. Census estimates, multiracial Americans have become one of the country’s fastest growing demographic groups. Kimaro is a mixed-race activist/filmmaker who is in an interracial relationship of her own. The relationship between her Tanzanian father and Korean mother makes up a significant portion of the film. This talk focuses on the particular experiences of multi-cultural/multi-national families and First Generation Americans (or “Third Culture” Communities—people raised in cultures other than their parents’ native culture) that fall outside the Black/White American paradigm of interracial relationships most commonly depicted on TV.
This film intimately reveals the inter-relatedness of race, class, gender and trauma in shaping our cultural identities. How do our cultures shape our understanding of our world? How do we come to understand the cultures we are born into? How do decide what aspects of our cultures will get passed down to the next generation? And how do our own hidden truths shape our cultural legacies?
The Art of Personal Storytelling:
Originally, this documentary (titled Worlds Apart) was about Kimaro’s father and his struggle to fit back in with the Tanzanian family and culture he’d left behind 40 years earlier. However, the final film “A Lot Like You” explores how Kimaro’s own experiences, as an abuse survivor and a professional trauma counselor, uniquely prepared her to bear witness to her aunts’ stories. We see how this simple act of sitting together and asking questions releases these women from a lifetime of pain, and inspires Kimaro to dig deeper and reveal the hidden truths of her own story. What Kimaro discovered on this journey from “Worlds Apart” to “A Lot Like You” is the subject of the film and the focus of this talk.
The event is free and open to the public.
WHO: Guest Speaker: Filmmaker Eliaichi “Ellie” Kimaro
WHEN: 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013
WHERE: University of Redlands, Orton Center
1200 East Colton Ave, Redlands, CA 92373