Filmmaker Eliaichi Kimaro will speak at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 9 as part of Edmonds Community College’s Brown Bag Lecture Series.
Kimaro’s presentation will be in the college’s Black Box Theatre. The lecture is free and open to the public.
A first-generation American, Kimaro, goes in search of her identity. She discovers that the cycle of gender violence she has been working hard to break in the U.S. is part of her history and culture on another continent. Kimaro raises questions about the cultures we inherit and what we choose to pass down. She reveals how a bearing witness can break silences that have lasted lifetimes.
Kimaro is mixed-race with a Tanzanian father and Korean mother. When Kimaro was older and in an interracial relationship of her own, she wanted to better understand this world her father had left behind when he was 18. So when Dr. Kimaro moved back to Tanzania for good, she followed him to make a film about this culture she would one day pass down to her kids.
What Ellie discovered on that trip – in Tanzania, in her family and in herself – is the subject of her personal award-winning documentary, A Lot Like You. As both a cultural insider and outsider, Kimaro asked questions that most people who grew up on Mt Kilimanjaro would never think to ask. Much to her surprise, the stoic women in her family opened up, telling her stories about trauma and survival that they’d never even shared with each other as sisters.
And so Kimaro must reconcile this culture she’s inherited with how she defines herself today – as a woman, as an activist and, perhaps most of all, as a mother. And in doing so, she finds a way to translate her father’s Chagga culture into her own personal legacy. A Lot Like You was named Best Documentary at the 30th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. A portion of the net proceeds from the film will help fund the construction of a girls’ dormitory at the Vunjo Secondary School in the Kimaro family village of Mwika.
Kimaro worked professionally as an activist/educator/counselor on issues related to gender violence, trauma and oppression for over 12 years before leaving for Tanzania to make this film. There, sitting with her Aunts in a grass hut on the family’s farm on Mt. Kilimanjaro, she unknowingly tapped into their stories about surviving a lifetime of gender violence and abuse, the likes of which Kimaro had never heard before. This talk uses the film as a springboard for opening up new avenues for dialogue, understanding and healing.
A Lot Like You won the Jason D Mak Award for Social Justice at the 2013 DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon: