Over two years ago, I stepped foot in Goma with a small camera. I planned to capture the lives of my patients on film to show my friends and family the struggles and triumphs of Congolese children. I had no training in documentary filmmaking so I had very low expectations for my project.
Yesterday, I had an unexpected experience. My film “Born in Goma” had its world premiere at the Chicago International Social Change Film Festival.
I was scheduled for the last viewing of the festival and it seemed many people were ready to head home. At 6:30PM, I stood by the entrance chatting with a few friends. The theater was empty…. Then, around 6:40PM, people began streaming into the theater. Couple after couple filed in for many minutes. I felt an immediate sense of relief that people were interested in the topic!
When my film first flashed on the screen, my pulse nearly doubled. I was nervous. The images I spent thousands of hours putting together were being shown in High Definition on a 50 foot screen. However, when the first scene rolled and the audio came on, I settled into my seat and relaxed.
For the next 48 minutes, the stories of Isaac, Gisele and Dieume unfolded and the audience responded very positively. After the credits rolled, I walk to the front of the theater and was greeted with a loud applause.
Shivers ran down my spine.