BSN's Biased Film Reviewer

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To the Editor: Having spent over three years of our lives making “THE BOYS OF BARAKAâ€? we were shocked and dismayed by Kam William’s bizarre “reviewâ€? of our documentary.  It is sensational and irresponsible reporting to lodge lies and  accusations such as these against us  - and by association – against  the families and kids in this film.

Why would any writer with any sense of ethics write such cruel and outrageous things –and why would The Black Star News print them -  without even bothering to phone either one the films directors to check the facts? Since none of the proper steps were taken to include the facts and the article is already in circulation, we find it necessary to answer these accusations, as base and untrue as they are.

None – not one frame – of “The Boys of Baraka� is scripted, staged or re-enacted. Every single scene in this film was captured as part of the three years of shooting and 350 hours of tape that were the result. The kids were themselves: their wonderful dynamic 12 year-old selves. Every scene happens in the order it was filmed. To make it perfectly clear: scenes in the film that take place before the kids go to Africa were filmed before the kids went to Africa. Scenes that take place in Africa were filmed in Africa. Scenes that take place when the children return home were filmed after the children returned home. No smoke, no mirrors, no coaching, no reality-TV elements. Just patience and trust and friendship that we enjoyed and continue to enjoy with the subjects of the film.

In one of the more petty claims in the article, Kam calls us  “imitatorsâ€? of ‘Born into Brothels’, a wonderful documentary film that addresses the plight of children in India. We started filming in March 2002, two years before Brothels was released. Additionally, anyone who knows anything about the life of a documentary filmmaker knows the enormous amount of time and finances–our own for much of the production before The Corporation for Public Broadcasting helped us finish the film—that go into a production like this. To even suggest that a filmmaker sees a good doc and rushes off to make one just like it is sorely mistaken, especially since it takes many years from start to finish! Also, to imply that we even used the letter “Bâ€? in the film’s title in order to achieve the same success as “Born into Brothels’ is just cheap, silly and laughable: a man with an agenda grasping at straws to make an ill-informed point.

The authors are the directors of  “THE BOYS OF BARAKAâ€?

Black Star News editor’s note: Our reviewer Kam Williams maintains the conclusions in his review of the film.

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