HHF documentary "An Unexpected Family: story from a slum" wins first international award

Written by Alexandra Howard

The journey to film the documentary “An Unexpected Family: story from a slum” began in 2006 when Riyad Barmania, the film’s director and writer, received an e-mail from my brother, Anthony, about the HHF project. He was intrigued by the story and was compelled to action. He reached out to co-producers Diego Pascoalino and Christian Mario Löhr and together, they committed to the long and challenging road of making a documentary!

With very little money but a lot of passion, vision and determination, they traveled to Nairobi in the beginning of 2008 and spent the month filming in Lenana slum. They focused on the children and staff at HHF that have been impacted by the project.

“Completing the film hasn’t been easy”, says Riyad who is currently working on another feature film and documentary with Diego.

“With very little money, we’ve had to rely on the generosity of some very talented people to finish the film to the high standard we set ourselves. While we believe in the HHF wholeheartedly we are first and foremost filmmakers that want to tell a compelling story. I believe we’ve made a film that honestly portrays how much heartbreak and frustration exists but also, and more importantly, how much joy, happiness and hope there is too.”

Well, they must have done something right as they’ve just received their first international film award – Outstanding Cinematography from the Australian Cinematography Society.

And we know there are plenty more to come! They have submitted to film festivals including Sundance, Hotdocs, Cinema du Reel and the Beverly Hills Film Festival. After their festival run, they hope to screen the documentary on TV as well.

“We believe we’ve produced a cinematic and compelling documentary that can stand on its own but will also help increase the profile of the Hanne Howard Fund and showcase the positive impact they are having on the kids and community,” says Riyad.

Everyone at HHFL is very excited about the film and we would like to help the documentary find as big an audience as possible! If you have any contacts or can make an introduction to someone connected to a film festival or a TV station, we would be very grateful.

“We will forever be touched by our experiences in Lenana”, concludes Riyad. “If our film can help the HHF and the kids in anyway that would be an amazing accomplishment.”

Please check out the film website at www.anunexpectedfamily.com or you can reach Riyad Barmania directly at [email protected]

We will keep you posted on the progress and any upcoming screenings!

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