In the Name of Charity

At it's heart, this documentary is a wonderful story of people from different backgrounds, ignoring social and religious boundaries for the betterment of others. But this simple pursuit is complicated by personal agendas, money and vendettas.

Starting from a single shared dream, Hilary and Keith Walker used every avenue to feed the growth of their education project - including selling their home in the UK. Robbed of their initial investment by a (failed project) in Tanji, the couple started again in the village of Madina Salam (The village of peace). For the next 13 years the couple accompanied by their Gambian ally E.K. Sarr, survived opposition on two continents. In the Gambia, opposition from tribal leaders, death threats and a run in with President Jammeh's Secret Service (NIA) and in the UK constant power struggles over policies and money, with the charities trustees. Despite this their 'child' Wonder Years Centre of Excellence was built, and grew to be a school, clinic and village project, which is known throughout the region.

But the years of fighting on two fronts, living apart and the death of E.K. Sarr, led unsurprisingly to the couples reluctant retirement in 2013. Keith's heart-attack and Hilary's nervous exhaustion meant they were unable to travel long distance, and so the couple knew they would never see their 'child' grow up, or visit their friends, again.

However, our chance meeting in the Autumn of 2018 re-ignited their imagination and encouraged Hilary and Keith (now in their 70's) to risk travelling to Madina Salam to seek some emotional closure. That wish became the impulse for the making of the film. Despite the efforts of the charity to prevent their return, their welcome back in Madina Salam was something extraordinary to behold.

  • Mark Alexander Todd
    Director
    Bad Reception, Digital Rebels
  • Charlie Duckerin
    Assistant Director
    EUtopia
  • Malang Camara - (The Gambia)
    Producer
  • Mark Alexander Todd - (UK)
    Producer
    Hearing Things
  • Charlie Duckerin - (UK)
    Producer
    Fear HIM
  • Keith Walker
    Producer
  • Hilary Walker
    Producer
  • Kerry Frater
    Key Cast
    "As himself"
  • Jasmine Arden-Brown
    Key Cast
    "As herself"
  • Jasna Anderson
    Key Cast
    "Cabin Crew"
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    Drama, Documentary
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 36 minutes 48 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 11, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    90,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    Gambia
  • Country of Filming:
    Gambia, United Kingdom
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
Director Biography - Mark Alexander Todd

Mark Alexander Todd - I have been producing film material for over three decades, working on award winning short films and now long form feature length projects.

I was originally a film and TV puppeteer and worked across Europe on many different 'rubbery' puppet projects for BBC, ITV and Henson's. I led the BBC's Virtual Actor programme in the late 90's before moving primarily to film and TV production.

In 2006 I moved to the USA, and worked on 5 indie films including my own feature 'Bad Reception' (distributed by Shami Media LLC), before returning home to the UK. I now run my own film company Pocket Pictures Ltd, who make shorts, feature films and documentaries.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

This documentary was a challenge for me as I was without the comfort of a script. Learning to deal with an ever evolving narrative was difficult at first, but became a beautiful mental jigsaw later.

Despite the ongoing war with the UK charity, we (Pocket Pictures) delivered the documentary we set out to make with Hilary and Keith. I truly want the world to know their amazing and emotional story.