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Boys of Baraka
     

The Boys of Baraka

Director: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady

Cast: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady

 
Baltimore, MD, is a city where crime, drugs, and juvenile delinquency have crippled the African-American community, and it has been estimated that as many as 75 percent of African-American males in Baltimore drop out of high school each year. With this in mind, in the '90s a program was created to help at-risk students from Baltimore with academic promise achieve

Overview

Baltimore, MD, is a city where crime, drugs, and juvenile delinquency have crippled the African-American community, and it has been estimated that as many as 75 percent of African-American males in Baltimore drop out of high school each year. With this in mind, in the '90s a program was created to help at-risk students from Baltimore with academic promise achieve their potential -- 20 young men each year were sent to the Baraka School, a special institution in Kenya. There, students experience a simpler, more rural lifestyle than they would in the city, while at school they are subject to a degree of discipline and academic rigor unknown at home. Filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady followed a group of students to the Baraka School, and Boys of Baraka offers a look at the impoverished circumstances the young men left behind, and the ups and downs of their new lives on another continent. Produced in cooperation with PBS, Boys of Baraka received its world premier at the 2005 South by Southwest Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
A devastating portrait of inner-city children seeking the educational means to escape extreme poverty and the feeble opportunities available for them to do so, directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady primarily focus on three of the young men attending the Baraka School -- Devon, Richard, and Montrey -- for their moving life stories, charisma, and lucid intelligent commentary. The boys lead intense, uncertain lives, and the filmmakers are careful to respect their strength and determination. The program, while successful, is startling in its extremity, and some policy-minded viewers may feel disappointed with how little of its philosophy is detailed besides a broad outline. Ewing and Grady are not content, however, to offer mute praise of the program; the documentary follows the boys before, during, and after their experience at the Baraka School, which was closed due to security threats after their first year. In so doing, they track the difficulties in aiding such emotionally frayed pubescent children and the limitations of such social programs in the absence of more wide-ranging policies to alleviate urban destitution. This film won Best Documentary at the 2005 Newport International Film Festival, the Atlanta Film Festival, and the Chicago International Film Festival; the Audience Awards at the 2005 AFI/Silverdocs Film Festival and the Woodstock Film Festival; and a Special Jury Award at the SXSW Film Festival.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/06/2006
UPC:
0821575548052
Original Release:
2005
Rating:
NR
Source:
Velocity / Thinkfilm
Time:
1:24:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Filmmaker commentary with Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing; Featurette: "A conversion with Bill Cosby"; Deleted scenes; The Boys - An update; Theatrical trailer; Trailer gallery; 4:3 Full frame presentation; 2.0 Stereo

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Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Boys of Baraka
1. Opening Sequence [5:27]
2. Romesh [5:45]
3. Orientation [4:08]
4. Visiting Jail [4:21]
5. Welcome [5:55]
6. Video Letters Home [5:10]
7. Not Fair [4:28]
8. Never Been Evaluated [6:17]
9. Acting Up [4:05]
10. Base Camp [4:11]
11. Church [5:24]
12. Mt. Kenya [5:35]
13. Devon's Mother [4:20]
14. Meeting With Parents [6:31]
15. Nine Monts Later [10:05]
16. End Credits [2:10]

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