“WHO AM I ?”
A 45-minute documentary about the prejudice that surrounds national identity, as seen through the eyes of children
Production of the film
“WHO AM I ?”
“WHO I AM” is a 45-minute documentary about the prejudice that surrounds national identity, as seen through the eyes of children.
In partnership with producer Angelique Pitteloud, S.A.F.E. was pleased in 2014 to extend our Peace Programme to tackle and change attitudes towards ‘otherness’ and conflict.
Funded by the Oak Foundation and Safaricom, we started shooting a documentary in October 2014 that examines discrimination based on tribe and wealth based on the famous ‘brown eyes blue eyes’ experiment carried out by Jane Elliot in America in the 1960’s. Working in three different schools in Nairobi, children experienced discrimination and then learned about the importance of a united Kenyan identity.
The documentary created from this project was released in 2015 and is used in kenyan schools as an education resource to facilitate discussion on the dangers of discrimination and to encourage tolerance.
Born in Nairobi, Wanuri is part of the new generation of African filmmakers. Her films have received international acclaim and been screened in over 100 film festivals around the world. To date, Wanuri has written and directed six films and is working on her second feature length film. She currently lives with her partner and two children in Nairobi.
Wanuri’s first feature film FROM A WHISPER was based on the real events surrounding the 1998 twin bombings of US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. It won Best Narrative Feature in 2010 at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, as well as five awards at the African Movie Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Screenplay.
In 2009, Wanuri produced FOR OUR LAND, a TV documentary about Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Wangari Maathai, for the pan African cable station MNET. In 2010, her short science fiction PUMZI premiered at SUNDANCE film festival and went on to win best short film at Cannes Independent Film Festival and the silver at Carthage Film Festival (Tunisia). PUMZI also earned Wanuri the ‘Citta di Venezia 2010’ award in Venice, Italy. She is currently in post-production on a feature length documentary “GER” about UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Ger Duany and a fractionally fictional documentary about an Nairobi based indie-pop group Just A Band.
- Just A Band, work-in-progress, (Kenya) co-directed by Anjali Nayar
- Ger, post-production (Sudan), Awali Entertainment Ltd
- Who Am I, 2015 (SAFE, Kenya)
- Pumzi, 2009 (Focus Features, USA/ Goethe Institut, Germany) – view on youtube
- For Our Land, 2009 (MNET, South Africa)
- From A Whisper, 2009 (Dada Productions, Kenya) – view trailer
- Ras Star, 2008 (MNET, South Africa)
- The Spark That Unites Us, 2007, Behind the scenes documentary of “To Catch A Fire” (Philip Noyce/ Universal USA/ Working Title, UK)
- Sauti, 2011 (Pilot) Turner Broadcasting, UK
- State House, 2013 (Drama 12 episodes) ZUKU Cable TV, Kenya
“WHO AM I ?” is a documentary that explores children’s reactions to different social situations in an effort to understand the effects of discrimination based on national identity. The documentary is founded on Jane Elliott’s “Brown Eyes/ Blue Eyes”. In “Brown Eyes/ Blue Eyes” Jane Elliott asked the children for consent to participate in an experiment about discrimination. She then separated the children with blue eyes from those with brown eyes. Telling the first group that they are superior. Within minutes, the blue-eyed children are using language, demonstrating behaviour and had improved grades as a result of their “superiority”. The brown-eyed children become more docile, timid and subservient. The next day the experiment is reversed and the same results were observed in the brown-eyed verses blue-eyed children.
“WHO AM I ?” will replicate a version of this experiment in three different schools in Kenya (urban, peri-urban and rural). “WHO AM I ?” will use children of different ages from 5 – 13 in different schools to participate in the documentary and separate them in terms of the size of their heads. At the end of the social activities they engage in, a few children will be selected to watch a video that contains people making comments about national identity and answer questions about what they feel about national identity. They also talk about what they felt about the activities they participated in.
Each school group, with a maximum of 10 children will participate in a weekend of activities. On the morning of the first day, one group will be labelled ‘superior’ and the other ‘inferior’. By using language, games and awarding one group and depriving the other, the children will understand the effects of discrimination. The same afternoon, the roles will be reversed. On the second day, the group will have a discussion about how they felt and what happened, after which a few will be part of a series of interviews. The final video will be edited to be used as an educational tool across the country and provoke conversations about national identity and understanding.