The Public is Invited to an Evening of Student-Produced Films Exploring Life on the Continent, Wednesday, November 18th at 7 PM

ORANGE, Calif. (November 18, 2009) — Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts and the International Documentary Program present Destination: Africa, a screening of three powerful student-produced documentary films on Wednesday, November 18, at 7:00 PM.

Held in the Folino Theatre at Dodge College at 283 N. Cypress in Orange, on the Chapman University campus, the evening premieres three works detailing aspects of life in Cameroon, west Africa including Shadows in the Forest, a piece focusing on indigenous communities deep in the Congo Basin; Eye to Eye, exploring the inspiring ways that activists in Cameroon are attempting to head off the looming extinction of the Cross River Gorilla and other primates; and Notre Joie, Notre Vie (Our Joy, Our Life), profiling the work of a ground-breaking organization fighting against the trafficking of children for sex and labor.

The event is open to the public and includes a question and answer session and reception with African food and music following the screening.

Shot in Cameroon in the summer of 2009, the films were completed in collaboration with the Chapman University School of Law and Chapman’s Wilkinson College of Humanities and Social Science. ―The international documentary program is a great example of the kind of unique filmmaking experiences we offer to our students,‖ says Dodge College Dean Bob Bassett. ―Each year, I am astounded by the quality, depth, and diversity of these films—the voice they provide to little known areas of the world and their issues is important to challenging the storytelling talents of our students as well as helping them make the world a better place.‖

Led by Dodge College faculty member Jeff Swimmer and assisted by faculty members from Dodge College and Wilkinson College, the humanities college, students prepared during the spring by researching the area and organizations and the legal and cultural implications of their work. The fall semester included working on the editing, post-production, marketing and distribution of the film. Student participants included Roxana Amini, Jacob Taylor, Carly Pandza, Matthew Prouty, Andrea Capranico, Hannah Taylor, Breanna Wing, Nicolas Wiesnet, Ruthie Rubietta, Tasha Wiggins-Hunter, Taylor O’Sullivan and Robert (Joey) Huddleston.

Shadows in the Forest focuses on the plight of indigenous pygmy communities deep in the Cameroon jungles. As the first inhabitants of the forest, their unique culture depends entirely on their ability to coexist with nature. The film sheds light on how years of exploitation and deforestation threatens their culture and how local organization such as the Center for Environmental Development are working to help indigenous communities reclaim their land through empowerment and –ironically– via cutting-edge technology.

Eye to Eye explores some of the inspiring ways that activists in Cameroon are trying to head off the looming extinction of one of Africa's most amazing, but endangered primates – the Cross River Gorilla. Activists, including the tireless advocate Dennis Ndeloh, are hoping to change attitudes toward gorillas and the common West African practice of eating "bushmeat" – usually monkeys or other primates. The film follows them as they work to achieve their goal of instilling values of conservation and empathy toward gorillas and nature in general in the people of Cameroon from the earliest ages.

Notre Joie, Notre Vie (Our Joy, Our Life), is a poignant, powerful film about a ground-breaking organization in Cameroon fighting against one of the world's most cruel and intractable social problems – the trafficking of children for sex and labor. Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing criminal industries in the world, with an estimated annual market of $32 billion. Commonly, people are taken from their homes or lured with promises of a better life. Those who perpetrate these crimes are sometimes part of sophisticated criminal gangs, while others are ordinary people making desperate decisions driven by poverty. The organization profiled in Notre Joie, Notre Vie faces daunting hurdles, but is committed to bringing a measure of hope to those afflicted by these heinous crimes.



Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, home to 1,350 students, is comprised of the Sodaro-Pankey Undergraduate School of Media, offering undergraduate degrees in film production, screenwriting, public relations and advertising, film studies, digital arts, creative producing, screen acting, and television and broadcast journalism; the Conservatory of Motion Pictures, offering graduate degrees in film production, film and television producing, screenwriting, production design and film studies. Marion Knott Studios, the new $42-million, 76,000-square-foot home of the Dodge College, opened in fall 2006.

Press Contact: Elizabeth Hinckley
Rogers & Cowan
310 854 8199