Phinney Ridge documentary filmmaker Jen Marlowe will hold the world premiere of her film “Rebuilding Hope” this weekend at the Grand Illusion Cinema in the University District.
Rebuilding Hope follows Gabriel Bol Deng, Koor Garang and Garang Mayuol, who fled their villages in South Sudan due to civil war when they were small children. They grew up in refugee camps and resettled in the USA in 2001.
Accompanied by Seattle filmmaker Jen Marlowe, these young men, now in their twenties, embark on a journey back to Sudan to discover whether their homes and families have survived, what the current situation is in South Sudan, and how they can help their communities rebuild after devastating civil war.
Rebuilding Hope also sheds light on what the future holds for Sudan in its precarious struggle for peace and stability. All proceeds from the film go towards drilling water wells, building a school, and providing medical care in the South Sudanese villages where the young men are from; all these efforts are spearheaded by them.
Marlowe, who lived in Greenwood in the mid-90’s and just moved to Phinney Ridge in June, said this film really goes hand-in-hand with her first film, “Darfur Diaries: Message From Home.”
“The more I got engaged in the situation in Darfur, the more I understood there’s no way to understand what’s happening in Darfur without understanding what’s happening in South Sudan,” she said by phone this afternoon.
And when a journalist in Connecticut asked her to accompany him to Sudan to film the story of three former “Lost Boys” who were returning to their homes to help their communities, she couldn’t resist, even though she had to raise $100,000 and spend a year on the project.
“I was just so moved and touched by them as people and what they were trying to do. I wanted to be a part of their story,” she said.
But it wasn’t easy. “There’s no way in hell that this film should have actually been made,” she said of all the problems she encountered during filming. “There were so many times when it could have unraveled.”
Photo of Jen Marlowe by David Morse.
Show times are 7 p.m. Friday, and 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Grand Illusion. Marlowe and the men featured in the film will hold post-screening discussions. All proceeds from the screening will go toward health care and education projects in South Sudan founded by the “Lost Boys” featured in the film.
Tickets are $10 general admission, $8 for students, seniors, and children, $7 for members of the Grand Illusion Cinema. Since space is limited, call the Grand Illusion Cinema at 206-523-3935 to reserve seats.