Several Harvard students traveled to rural Uganda to eliminate malnutrition. And they did it, by 98 percent.
“From The Ground Up” is the documentary that follows these Harvard students as they work to teach the people of Uganda how to grow and cook a variety of healthy foods.
Karen Day, journalist and filmmaker from Boise, focuses her work on humanitarian issues. When Day met these students in Uganda she was inspired to direct and produce the film.
“In this province of south west Uganda,” Day said, “was a former breadbasket of the sub-Saharan. They can grow anything here. How can they have 1 in 3 kids dying of malnutrition?”
Besides screening at the Sun Valley Film Festival, this film will also be screened at the SPEC at Boise State.
What it came to be, was that during colonialism, when European empires were divvying up African countries- they didn’t teach the people how to grow anything besides one single cash crop.
This not only opened the students eyes as to why these children were dying of malnutrition, but it also told them that as Westerners of European descent, had a social responsibility to help teach the Ugandans.
“They kept teaching the locals and then they asked the locals to teach each other,” Day said.
The students were working on this project through Harvard’s Initiative to End Child Malnutrition. Now Harvard offers this program, as a grant, to any students who wish to go and recreate this project.
“Can one person make a difference? Can a film save a life? Yes, absolutely,” Day said.
Nick Miller, director of the Arts and Humanities Institute met Day and decided to bring the film to Boise State.
“I think anything we can do to expose our students to the world beyond the Treasure Valley is good,” Miller said. “The film itself is about student involvement and solving global problems.”
Miller met Day through his colleague Stephanie Bacon who had been working with Day on her current film project which tells the story of Nell Shipman.
Shipman, a Canadian native, was a prominent figure in silent film in the early 1900s. Shipman wrote, directed, produced and acted in over 100 films. Much of her work was done at Priest Lake, Idaho, where Shipman found
“I thought, ‘I could never be making documentaries and reporting from a rock in Afghanistan as an independent if that woman hadn’t done what she did back then, even though she’s totally forgotten’,” Day said.
Nearly all of Shipman’s work and documents are at Boise State due to former English professor Tom Trusky who discovered Shipman and was fascinated by her work.
“Tom Trusky kind of discovered Nell and managed to get her papers here, and so we have a collection of her materials,” said Cheryl Oestreicher, head of special collections and archives at Albertsons Library. The film is titled “Nell Shipman: Girl from God’s Country.”
“From The Ground Up” will be screened at the SPEC Sunday March 16 at 7 p.m. and is free to the public. Day will be at the screening and afterwards there will be a time for a Q&A with her.