Return To Yirol is a documentary film that will follow Abraham as he travels from the US to South Sudan.
- Project Summary
The story of Abraham Madit Majak (one of the Lost Boys of Sudan) is at once heart-rending and life affirming. Walking thousands of miles across unforgiving African soil, attempting to escape the jaws of both man and beast, being shuffled around refugee camps like so much cargo, until his adoption by a family in Michigan, USA.
This documentary picks up with Abraham twelve years after his adoption, and follows him as he leaves one family behind in search of another. The documentary will culminate with his arrival into South Sudan and reunion with his mother and home village in Yirol.
Abraham’s transition to the United States came in 2001 when he was separated from his mother in Kakuma, a Kenyan refugee camp. As part of a Lutheran Church program to bring gifted Sudanese students to the U.S. and find them adopted families, Abraham came to Lansing, Michigan where he lived with the Roost family. Over the course of the next decade, he would refer to Judith and Charles Roost as his Mom and Dad, and Adam, Dani, and Jake as his brothers and sister. There is no doubt that Abraham became an integral part of this family, of which he was a symbiotic partner.
In January 2012, Abraham will finally make the long trek home. He will see his mother for the first time in eleven years, his home village for the first time since he was a young boy, he will even experience South Sudan as an independent nation for the first time ever—along with all the politics and structuring that the infant nation now faces.
My wife is Dani Roost, Abraham’s adopted sister. It is through her that I met Abraham, and along with her encouragement, where the idea for this documentary first began. Over the last five years, Dani, Abraham, and I have collaborated on speaking engagements and visual projects supporting his non-profit.
In July of 2011, South Sudan voted for their independence from the North. Sudanese all over the world celebrated and a growing want to return home to build up the young nation became palpable. At this moment, numerous Sudanese people are trying to return home and Abraham is among the numbered.
The conflict of this piece resides in the area of Abraham’s expectations: to see his mother, to see Yirol, to help his home village, to help South Sudan to thrive, to generate more awareness of their struggle on a global scale. It is possible to see Abraham’s struggle’s, in the specific routine of daily chores, as a sort of microcosm for the whole nation of South Sudan, and extending to the entirety of human struggle.
The unique quality of this project lies in the establishing and burgeoning of South Sudan as an independent state. The dream long fought for has been achieved, the tension lies in the moment where one asks: now what? As well, with Abraham, his dream to return home is soon to be achieved and the same questions is posed: now what?
In this case, the bulk of our budget is going to cover travel for myself and Abraham, and production in South Sudan. Afterwards, we will have to edit the picture together, collaborate with musicians for a film score, and finally output the project to DVD.
Please visit Abraham's non-porfit at http://www.rescuesouthsudan.org/
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A limited edition print of a portrait of Abraham drawn by artist Joe Levickas. (http://www.joelevickas.com/portraits.html). South Sudanese craft (jewelry, wood carving, fabric) purchased at the Juba artisan markets.Estimated delivery:
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A newly designed print by artist Bec Young (http://www.justseeds.org/artists/bec_young/). South Sudanese craft (jewelry, wood carving, fabric) purchased at the Juba artisan markets.Estimated delivery:
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Special Thanks credit in film. Choice of print. Limited edition copy of finished film, with design work done by artist Mark Gary (http://www.kerlin.ie/artists/Garry.aspx)--no release date set.South Sudanese craft (jewelry, wood carving, fabric) purchased at the Juba artisan markets.Estimated delivery:
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Producer credit in film. Choice of print. Limited edition copy of finished film, with design work done by artist Mark Gary (http://www.kerlin.ie/artists/Garry.aspx)--no release date set.Estimated delivery:
- (21 days)