Private Project

Unbowed (Sampler)

The sample is a selection of abridged scenes (Omar Bah’s backstory, his work as a non-profit founder of a fledgling social service agency, father and husband, and trauma survivor seeking closure), that embody some of Unbowed’s themes. It is a snapshot of the film, which is about a pivotal year in Omar’s life, a life that has always been shaped by pursuing truth through unflinching transparency, justice, and building community. One will have a sense that regardless of the place in which Omar lives, these values catalyze his choices. And while they placed his life at risk in The Gambia, in America he finds the freedom to safely live by his values, which inspire a new calling and life direction. By using mostly observational style and informal/on-the-fly interviews, we place viewers into this experience by letting them watch Omar as he literally moves through his days shaping the ambitious dream he has for fellow refugees to become self-sufficient, like he’s become.

The final film will have full versions of the abridged scenes and introduce others that support the film’s themes. The order in which the sample scenes appear here is not necessarily the order in which they will appear for the final film. Music, text slides, and subtitles will be added to clarify Gambian accented dialog/Gambian language, in addition to sound, color, and music work. In addition, the final film will show more of the challenges the year brings, and the personal side of Omar when he is with family, friends and co-workers. One will see him celebrate small victories and then tirelessly navigate days that inevitably contain the never-know-what-crisis-is-next ubiquity inherent to his work. Moreover, one will experience Omar’s public persona that belies the vulnerable and ambivalent feeling he has about ending his exile.

  • Runtime:
    14 minutes 39 seconds
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography

Mae Gammino, director, producer, second camera: Mae produced her first documentary film in 2021. Being Thunder is a feature-length documentary about two-spirit, genderqueer teenager Sherente Mishitashin Harris from the Narragansett tribe (Rhode Island). It screened in festivals across the U.S. and Canada and was endorsed by GLAAD. It is an international co-production with Magneto Presse (France) and in association with ARTEFrance. Film Movement (N.Y.) acquired North American Rights in 2022. Being Thunder can be seen on AppleTV, AppleTV Canada, AmazonVideo, iTunes, and VUDU. Born and raised in Rhode Island, Mae earned a B.A. in Finance from Simmons University in Boston, MA. She later owned a successful manufacturing company for 20 years. She then fulfilled a lifelong goal when switching careers in 2013, becoming a Photojournalist/Documentary photographer. Her work has appeared in The Boston Globe, IndieWire, and The Hollywood Reporter, among others. She is a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

David Helfer Wells, director, cinematographer, rough cut editor and sound recordist: David brings three decades of experience making still images and, more recently, documentary films for publications and websites. Wells is a Senior Fellow of the University of Rhode Island’s Coastal Institute. His imagery has appeared in magazines including Fortune, Life, National Geographic, Newsweek, The Sunday New York Times, and Time. He has received funding for past projects from the MacArthur Foundation's Program of Research and Writing on International Peace and Cooperation, the Fulbright Foundation, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the Alicia Patterson Foundation. The Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday Magazine nominated his work on the pesticide poisoning of California farm workers for a Pulitzer Prize. Many of his short films have been juried into film festivals around the globe, including Ankara, Bangalore, Jaipur, Lahore, Lisbon, Mumbai, New Haven, New York City, Philadelphia, Providence, Rome, Sacramento, and San Francisco.