Bi-racial American Filmmaker Gets Tanzanian Aunts to Open Up About Sexual Abuse Faced, Finds it Mirrors Her Own Traumas

A lot like youDocumentary Premieres on Tuesday, January 22 on WORLD Channel, Part of AfroPoP Series

NEW YORK (January (11), 2013)—When filmmaker Eliaichi Kimaro, a mixed-race, first-generation American with a Tanzanian father and Korean mother, decided to do a documentary on her father’s culture she had no idea the secrets she unearthed would mirror the sexual abuse she faced as a child. Her film, A Lot Like You, premieres on Tuesday, January 22 at 7:00 pm ET (6:00 pm CT, 4:00 pm PT) as part of season five of the AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange series hosted by actress Gabourey Sidibe on public television’s WORLD channel. AfroPoP is produced by Black Public Media.

Kimaro’s film, co-presented by the Center for Asian American Media, follows the sexual abuse survivor as she documents her retired father’s path back to his family and Chagga culture. Along the way she uncovers sexual violence suffered by her aunts and other women that resonates with her work and life in the United States. When Kimaro speaks with her parents about the oppression her aunts face, she encounters a jarring disconnect between immigrant generations on questions of patriarchy and violence. The film reveals how simply bearing witness to another’s truth telling can break silences that have lasted lifetimes.

“One reason this film works,” said Tikkun Magazine, “is that Kimaro situates her own personal family history within a social, historical, and political context of African decolonization, transnational relations, race, class, and gender politics.”

AfroPoP is an innovative documentary series consisting of independent films about contemporary life, art and pop culture across the African Diaspora. The series premieres with Kimaro’s film and continues on Tuesdays weekly with Dear Mandela (January 29), by Dara Kell and Christopher Nizza, and Stolen (February 5), by Violeta Ayala and Daniel Fallshaw. Dear Mandela captures the demonstrations of residents of the Durban shantytowns as they fight for the decent living conditions promised by the post-apartheid government and challenge the African National Congress (ANC). In Stolen the filmmakers expose modern-day slavery in refugee camps in Western Sahara, entangling themselves in a high-stakes thriller. A Lot Like You and Dear Mandela will be distributed by American Public Television for broadcast on additional public television channels in February 2013.

For more information on the series or films, visit To find your local WORLD station, check your local listings.


Gabourey Sidibe burst onto the scene in 2009 with her stunning portrayal of “Precious” in Lee Daniels film Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire. Her efforts earned her an Academy Award® and Golden Globe® nomination for Best Actress along with an array of other nominations and awards.

Gabourey will next film the fourth season of the Golden Globe nominated Showtime series, The Big C, opposite Laura Linney. She plays the series regular role of “Andrea,” a teenager who has become part of the core family, working alongside Oliver Platt, John Benjamin Hickey and Susan Sarandon.

Gabourey starred in Universal’s action-comedy film Tower Heist opposite Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy for director Brett Ratner. She can soon be seen in the indie drama Yelling to the Sky, which premiered at the Berlinale Film Festival. She will next appear in Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths opposite Woody Harrelson. In 2010, Gabourey had the distinct honor of hosting Saturday Night Live.



A Lot Like You

by Eliaichi Kimaro

Eliaichi Kimaro is a mixed-race, first-generation American with a Tanzanian father and Korean mother. When her retired father moves back to Tanzania, Eliaichi begins a project that evocatively examines the intricate fabric of multiracial identity, and grapples with the complex ties that children have to the cultures of their parents.

Kimaro decides to document her father’s path back to his family and Chagga culture. In the process, she learns more deeply about the heritage that she took for granted as a child. Yet as she talks to more family members, especially her aunts, she uncovers a cycle of sexual violence that resonates with her work and life in the United States. When Kimaro speaks with her parents about the oppression that her aunts face, she faces a jarring disconnect between immigrant generations on questions of patriarchy and violence.

Activist-turned-filmmaker Eliaichi Kimaro is founder/director of 9elephants productions, a company that uses video to bring stories of struggle, resistance and survival to a broader audience. Eliaichi brings a lifetime of personal and professional experience exploring issues of culture, identity, race, class, and gender to her Award-winning directorial debut, A Lot Like You. Most recently, her film has won the Jury Award for Best Documentary Film at the 2012 San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival and the 2011 Montreal International Black Film Festival.

Drawing upon her nine-year film journey, she is currently on the campus/conference lecture circuit engaging communities across the country in discussion about some of the issues in her film, including gender violence, mixed race/multicultural issues, cultural identity and the power of personal storytelling.


Dear Mandela

by Dara Kell and Christopher Nizza

Destroyed homes, threats at gunpoint and high-court action, this battle by three young people to stand up for their rights is a testimony to people power. When the South African government promises to “eradicate the slums” and begins to evict shack dwellers far outside the city, three friends who live in Durban’s vast shantytowns refuse to be moved. Dear Mandela follows their journey from their shacks to the highest court in the land as they invoke Nelson Mandela’s example and become leaders in a growing social movement. By turns inspiring, devastating and funny, the film offers a new perspective on the role that young people can play in political change and is a fascinating portrait of South Africa coming of age.

Dara Kell is an award-winning South African documentary and television editor. Her editing work includes Academy Award-nominated Jesus Camp; The Reckoning (which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival) and Emmy Award-winner Diamond at the Rock. Her clients include National Geographic, Discovery Network, History Channel and MTV. She was a field producer for the Amnesty International documentary, Human Rights, Human Needs, and has edited short films for Human Rights Watch and the MacArthur Foundation. Dara is also a media educator and facilitates camera and editing trainings with grassroots groups across the United States. She graduated from Rhodes University with a Bachelor of Journalism in Documentary Filmmaking and Political Science. Her thesis film Indlini Yam (In My House) won the Dolphin Award for Best Documentary.

Christopher Nizza is a New York City born, bred and based filmmaker and editor. His Emmy Award-winning work includes documentaries and television shows (Hollywood DC, Ironman Triathlon, Dakar Rally, Iditarod) as well as video game commercials and music videos. He edited and produced feature-stories and teases at Figure Skating during last year’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver, NBC’s highest-rated venue at the Games. Nizza is a founding member of the University of the Poor, a project dedicated to using video and new technologies as part of a broad movement to end poverty. As part of this work he collaborated with other filmmakers and community groups to make Crisis, U.S.A., Copy This Tape and Learning as we Lead. These short documentaries have been used in educational programs at hundreds of grassroots meetings and university classes across the United States.



by Dan Fallshaw and Violeta Ayala

Filmmakers Ayala and Fallshaw follow Fetim Sellami, a Saharawi refugee in a refugee camp in North Africa, as she awaits a U.N.-sponsored reunion with her mother. Mother and child were separated when Sellami was a toddler. But they soon uncover a dark secret when the black Saharawis open up about a forbidden subject: their enslavement.

Soon the filmmakers find that their lives are in danger as they face extreme hardships in getting the footage across borders. Protestors have demonstrated against the accuracy of the film. The Polisario, the movement running the camp flew Sellami to the Sydney Film Festival to deny being a slave and that slavery exists in the camps. Stolen is a compelling, modern-day, real-life cloak-and-dagger thriller.

Violeta Ayala is an award-winning filmmaker, writer and theater performer from Bolivia. In 2006, she began her collaboration with Dan Fallshaw in North Africa on Between the Oil and the Deep Blue Sea, an investigative documentary about corruption in the oil industry. In 2007, Violeta and Dan made A Vegan in the Meat Aisle, a short drama selected for Tropfest. In 2009, their first feature film Stolen premiered internationally at the Toronto International Film Festival and at IDFA in competition; it went on to take Best Documentary at the Pan African Film Festival and receive a special mention at its New Zealand premiere. She is developing a framework on documentary for the Australian Film Television Radio School and has given master-classes at the National Film and Television School in London and the Edinburgh College of Art. Violeta is a recipient of the Jan Vrijman Fund.

Dan Fallshaw studied Visual Communications at the University of Technology in Sydney and St. Martins College in London. He worked in London and Germany as an Art Director and later in Italy as a film editor. Dan made his first documentary while at university, that looked at the lives of four women dealing with the consequences of chemotherapy. In 2006, he and Violeta Ayala created United Notions Film; they travelled to Mauritania and made Between the Oil and the Deep Blue Sea, documentary about corruption in the oil industry. In 2007, Dan directed A Vegan in the Meat Aisle, a short drama selected for the world’s biggest short film festival, Tropfest. His film with Violeta, Stolen has been selected for more than 35 film festivals worldwide. Dan received the Best Editing Award at the Documentary Edge Festival in New Zealand for Stolen.



Black Public Media is a national, nonprofit media arts organization, is the leading provider of black programming on public television and the greatest resource for the training of black media professionals within the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Black Public Media develops, produces and funds television and online programming about the black experience. Since its founding in 1979, it has provided hundreds of broadcast hours documenting African American history, culture and experience to public television. For more on Black Public Media and its initiatives, visit


The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible. It does this by funding, producing, distributing and exhibiting works in film, television and digital media. CAAM’s catalog includes more than 250 titles, constituting the country’s largest collection of Asian American films and videos for educational distribution. CAAM provides funding and support for provocative and engaging Asian American film and media projects from independent producers; since 1990, more than $3 million has been granted to over 150 projects.


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1 Comment

  1. Adams John says:

    Very informative post, thanks for sharing !!

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