Director’s Statement

Every once in a while, a story emerges that speaks to the basic human drive to find purpose, meaning, and fundamental mattering. When I Was Young I Said I Would Be Happy is such a story. The film goes beyond our ability to overcome insurmountable challenges with dignity. It dives deeper than the realization that we all possess the capacity to love or to hate, to cultivate life or destroy it, to do nothing or to do something. We are all made of matter and I believe we all matter. The story follows the journey of orphan genocide survivors paying it forward to those afflicted by the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. Typically, films about work in Africa follow a predictable narrative about someone from the West – a gray-hair or a young well-to-do college student – helping some poor, disenfranchised individuals that can’t help themselves. Often this predictable and occasionally condescending portrayal eliminates the power of our collective will to work towards a better future. So, we flipped it. We imagined a world when every person matters and has the tools and agency to find purpose - whether around the globe or around the block. I believe that to be a prosperous and peaceful world interconnected with endless possibility and hope.

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