A determined tech savvy woman travels to Northern Uganda to fulfill a promise she made to village elders. Little did she know how one simple gift made to a small school would send her on a path that would inspire a generation of young Ugandans to not only consider the impossible for their future, but also generate social change and create economic opportunities for this ignored war-ravaged region.
Debi LangDirectorCORNERSTONE, Hearts In The Himalayas
Genres:SOCIAL JUSTICE, EDUCATION, WOMEN EMPOWERMENT, AFRICA, HUMAN RIGHTS, DISABILITIES
Runtime:28 minutes 20 seconds
Completion Date:November 20, 2017
Country of Origin:United States
Country of Filming:Uganda
Debi Lang is president and founder of Caring For The World Films. She is an award-winning photojournalist with over 25 years of experience in the film and broadcast industry. She has worked for a number of media companies including Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS, and Telemundo as well as a host of production companies. Her background includes all aspects of video and film production. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Edward R. Murrow Award for News Documentary and notable humanitarian and directing honors.
Following Lang’s final assignment covering the Iraq War, She founded Caring For The World Films, which became became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2009 it . Her humanitarian projects have taken her around the world to locations in Uganda, Nepal, Belize, and Honduras.
2012-Hearts In The Himalayas
2010-Building a Better Belize
2010-Behind The Lines in Los Encinitos
2009-Return to San Marcos
2008-Road to San Marcos
My approach to capturing these compelling stories is not much different than when I was a journalist. As a director, I insist my team have a full understanding of the culture, history, geography and population. By utilizing the least amount of equipment and fewest crewmembers possible we limit the "footprint" of the production in order to avoid disrupting the operation of the mission or disturbing the fragile environment of the rural locations. I hire and train local people to assist on the crew.
As with all of our films, nothing is staged or scripted. We follow strict National Press Photographer Association (NPPA) journalistic standards and the team goes to great lengths to make certain all information gathered is vetted for accuracy.
When Executive Producer, Sandra Washburn first approached me about this project, I was reluctant as I was still working on CORNERSTONE. Her passion for her work with Oysters & Pearls and the success of a monumental constantly evolving mission convinced me and my team to sign on.
PATHBREAKERS was filmed over a period of 8 weeks in Gulu, Uganda. The conditions were challenging at times as nothing was scripted or planned. The storyline evolved numerous times. Quite frankly, this was a difficult film to put together because the mission of the NGO evolved at lightning speed due to Miss Washburn’s never ending outreach to the tech industry. We struggled with where the focus should be in the film. There were so many good stories and angles to choose from and at the same time, carefully avoiding sensationalizing the suffering of the population and presenting their stories with dignity. I finally decided the young people who benefit from the mission of Oysters & Pearls needed to tell their stories in their own words.
The backstories of the young people you meet in PATHBREAKERS are heartbreaking to say the least. The war and horrors committed by Joseph Kony's Lord"s Resistance Army (LRA) on this once prosperous region of Uganda created economic devastation and psychological scars so deep that many of the survivors may never recover.
My goal is for the viewer to feel the love, inspiration and determined spirit of Basil, Denis, Norbert, Elizabeth, George, Daniel and the others I met. They managed to survive torturous conditions, and these days, prefer to focus solely on their future in order to heal, not only their community, but Uganda.
My hope is PATHBREAKERS will educate the public to embrace that a disability does not limit one's future especially when they have the right mindset. I encourage those inspired by the film to partner with Sandra Washburn to support her vision of bringing technology based education to the blind and disabled of Uganda.