Today The Hawk Takes One Chick

Genre : Social
Column : Cinema/tv
Year of production : 2007
Format : Feature

The Lubombo region of Swaziland suffers from the world's highest prevalence of HIV and a life expectancy that has dropped to 32 years. In this small, landlocked country in southern Africa, a generation of parents has died, leaving the grandparents in charge of the children as well as responsible for retaining the threads of the fraying traditional life. Presented without an overt narrative structure or narration, the film's drama emerges from the steady accumulation of details that tell a greater story of family in a world dictated by AIDS.
The Lubombo region of Swaziland suffers from the world's highest prevalence of HIV and a life expectancy that has dropped to 32 years. In this small, landlocked country in southern Africa, a generation of parents has died, leaving the grandparents in charge of the children as well as responsible for retaining the threads of the fraying traditional life. Presented without an overt narrative structure or narration, the film's drama emerges from the steady accumulation of details that tell a greater story of family in a world dictated by AIDS.


(Jane Gillooly, Swaziland/USA, 2007, 72min.)

Witnessing the highest prevalence of HIV in the world and the lowest life expectancy, three grandmothers in Swaziland cope in this critical moment in time. Today The Hawk Takes One Chick moves delicately between the lives of three unique grandmothers whose experiences highlight a rural community at the threshold of simultaneous collapse and reinvention.

Through the poignant perspective of the three women, the film creates a portrait of a community by layering discrete moments in time. Presented without overt narrative structure or narration, the film's drama emerges from the patient accumulation of steady details that, in sum, tell a greater story of family, struggle, and the weight of an uncertain future in a world dictated by AIDS.

The events in the film occur in a rural area with-in a 15-mile radius of St Phillips Health Center where one of the women, Thandiwe Mathujwa, works as a nurse. The facts that precede the film are that in the southern African kingdom of Swaziland, nearly 40% of its people are HIV positive and life expectancy has dropped to 32-years. The lives of the three grandmothers featured in the film have been consumed by addressing the needs of their community while at the same time remaining the threads of the fraying traditional life.

Through verité footage and recordings of intimate conversations, the gentle beauty of the rural Swaziland landscape and way of life, its humor, joy, and deeply held spiritual beliefs, are in stark contrast with the urgency of the grandmothers' everyday lives: families living off World Food Program rations, a missing generation of productive young adults, children surviving without parents, all combine and overwhelm what should be the grandmothers time to retire, relax and be catered to by adult children. What is life when sickness and death are an everyday experience? For these grandmothers, there is no choice but to steadfastly persevere and refuse to abandon their children. As more and more insight into the women's lives is revealed, we are forced to ponder the question asked by granny Albertina: "What will happen when all the grannies are dead?"



2008 Premiere Screening Boston, MA
INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART

2008 International Premiere Mexico City
FESTIVAL OF INTERNATIONAL CONTEMPORARY CINEMA - FICCO

MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, 2008

FULL FRAME DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL, 2008

SARASOTA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, 2008

CORNELL CINEMA, 2008

MARYLAND FILM FESTIVAL, 2008

MIT - WOMEN IN FILM AND VIDEO, 2008

VOICES FROM THE WATERS FILM FESTIVAL, Bangalore, INDIA, 2008

PAWTUCKET FILM FESTIVAL, 2008

NEWBURYPORT DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL, 2008

KANSAS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, 2008

HOT SPRINGS DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL, 2008
with
Thandiwe Mathunjwa
Maria Shongwe
Albertina Skhosana

Director Jane Gillooly

Cinematographer Karin Slater

Producers
Ann S. Kim, Jane Gillooly, Tracey Kaplan

Editors
Jane Gillooly, Carolyn Kaylor, Pam Larson

Additional Cinematography
Natalie Haarhoff, Jane Gillooly

Consulting Producer
Jocelyn Glatzer

Executive Producer
Pat Daoust

Musicians
LoMasoutfo Mkhwanazi
Kaizer Mamba

Sound Recordist
Ken Winokur

Field Translators
Joconia Shongwe
Pius Mamba
Tfobhi Mamba

Production Advisors
Sister Diane DalleMolle
Pat Daoust
Pius Mamba
Sister Barbara Staley

Drivers
Sanele Dlamini
Mdumiseni Gamedze
Bheki Steenkamp
Muayi Sikhosanna

Sound Mixer
Robert Todd

Online Editor/Colorist
Michael H. Amundson, ammofilm

Tape Translations
Leonard Moloi
Nomthandazo Adelaide Mmbadi
Zinhle Sylvester (Sly) Bhembe
Bongani Mngomezulu

1st Production Assistant
Elias Mallette

Post Production Assistants
Nicolas Brynolfson
Andrew Cohen
Tracy Cutchlow
Pearl Emmons
Soo Ping Lei
Vasia Markides



This film would not have been possible without the participation, good wishes, trust and patience of the following:

Maria's grand and great grandchildren-
Pheela, Temut Fo, Sebele, Ntokozo, Hlengi,
Sphetho, Nogorila, Toko, Magubedu, Mangoba,
Thulo, Fodo, Thule and Nonto

gogo Lomgcibelo Shongwe LaNhleko
gogo Phatsekile Maziya LaTsabedze
gogo Tsabedze Gamedze
Sister Diane DalleMolle
Fikile Dlamini
Simon B. Dlamini
Bobby L. Farris
Janet Faubert
Bongani Gamedze
Mantinyane Gamedze

Neliswa (Mido) Gamedze
Tfobhi Shongwe Gamedze
Elliot M. Mamba
Mkhosembube Mamba Family
Pius Mamba
Samchonto Mamba
Simo Mamba
Tfobhi Mamba
Thokozani Mamba
Zodwa Mamba
Phicekile Matsenjwa
Sanele Matsenjwa
Isaac Maziya
Khululiwe Mkumane
Father Sakhile Peter Ndwandwe
Ncobile Ngcamphalala
Siphwe Ngcamphalala
Sindi Nhleko
Thokozile Nxumalo
Joconia Shongwe
Lomcgibelo Shongwe
Sister Barbara Staley
Ncamiso Vilakati


Thank you

Bill Anderson S.A. Bachman
Rebecca Baron Branka Bogdanov
Holly Bullock Cabrini Ministries
Marian L. Chibambo at St. Philips Mission
Abigail Child Catherine Coleman
Center for Advanced Nelson Da Costa
Visual Studies at MIT Priya Giri Desai
Siobhan Dunne Mark Alice Durant
Cherry Enoki Joel Frenzer
Gill Garb David Grogan
Larissa Harris Allie Humenuk
Mwenya B. Kabwe Grace Kaimila-Kanjo
Sue Kaplan John Lapham
Ellie Lee Robb Moss
Meg Rotzel James Rutenbeck
Karen Schmeer Karen Shmukler
Jonathan Schwartz Jeff Silva
Jeannie Simms Chantal Zakari
Joe Zane



With Additional Thanks To

David Anderson Laura S. Barrett
Sharon L. Bober The Boston Living Center
Ken Brown Alex Cecil
Lisa Crafts Benjamin C. Dewey
Robert & Jessica Disbrow Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund
Lisa Fishbayn Anita B. Garlick
Dorothea Gillim Kevin R. Gillooly
Kathleen R. Gillooly Rose C. Gillooly
Jonathan L. Joffe John Kusiak
Peter Marquez Barbara McLean
Massachusetts College of Jean Moncrieff
Art Internship Program Suzanne Rich and Family
Eric Ritter Virginia B. Ryan
School of the Museum Miles Striar
of Fine Arts Gail Strickler
Pat & Jim Tynan Patricia L. Waddell
Betty Winokur

Post Production Facility
The Outpost

Transfers
Video Africa
Eclipse Video

Funded by
JSI/WORLD EDUCATION FUND
The GOGO PROJECT, Boston
LEF MOVING IMAGE FUND
MASSACHUSETTS CULTURAL COUNCIL
MAVERICK LLOYD FOUNDATION
DBL FOUNDATION
CUSHMAN FAMILY FUND

Produced in Association with the
Center for Independent Documentary


FESTIVALS / AWARDS /


2008 Premiere Screening Boston, MA
INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART

2008 International Premiere Mexico City
FESTIVAL OF INTERNATIONAL CONTEMPORARY CINEMA - FICCO

MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, 2008

FULL FRAME DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL, 2008

SARASOTA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, 2008

CORNELL CINEMA, 2008

MARYLAND FILM FESTIVAL, 2008

MIT - WOMEN IN FILM AND VIDEO, 2008

VOICES FROM THE WATERS FILM FESTIVAL, Bangalore, INDIA, 2008

PAWTUCKET FILM FESTIVAL, 2008

NEWBURYPORT DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL, 2008

KANSAS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, 2008

HOT SPRINGS DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL, 2008

2008 European Premiere, Joensuu, FINLAND
VISCULT FESTIVAL, FINLAND, 2008

New York Premiere Screening - Nov. 15, 6pm
MARGARET MEAD FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL

Organizations

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