Panama - "I was hungry, you gave me to eat": thought-provoking Salesian documentary

11 February 2019

(ANS - Panama City) - The Salesian media company "Don Bosco IMAGE", based in Kochi, India, won the Best Film Award in the category "Missionary Spirit" at the "Goodness Reigns Film Festival", a film festival that took place in Panama, as part of the 2019 World Youth Day, and which aims to promote the creation of faith-based media and art. The award-winning documentary, namely I was hungry, you gave me to eat, tells the poignant story of the people affected by the drought in Korr, Kenya, and has as its hero a mentally-challenged girl.

The gala evening of the award saw the presence of several film directors, a number of touching testimonies and the greeting of the Archbishop of Louisville, Msgr. Joseph Kurtz. Furthermore, a prize of $ 1,000 was awarded to Don Bosco IMAGE as part of the prize.

In telling the story and the genesis of the documentary, the director, the Indian Salesian Fr Jiji Kalavanal, said: “One day we went to distribute food in a remote Mangatta – i.e. village. While distributing food a girl shabbily dressed carrying two kids caught my attention. She herself was a mentally-challenged girl. It was a very moving scene. I had tears in my eyes when I was filming the scene.

It is an everyday procedure while on filming projects to capture the rushes on to a hard disk, clean the camera and other equipment and make a shooting report of the day before retiring to bed. That day while doing the routine and checking the rushes on my computer, now the images enlarged struck my eyes again … Her dry lips, the sediments of dirt and the piercing look in her eyes… I felt compelled to tell her story and made some rough scribbling that night.

I was called to make a general video on Korr mission and had no intention to make this film. All our scripts are supervised and edited by Fr Thomas Anchukandam. The corrections and subtle changes he makes in the script make a big difference. I am ever grateful to his interest and support in our media initiatives. My editor, Bineesh Sebastian, did an excellent job in juxtaposing the visuals so that they communicate better.

The result is the video I was hungry, you gave me to eat”.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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