A Small Act

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 7:30pm
DCTV, 87 Lafayette Street, NYC

An official selection at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, A Small Act tells the story of two very unlikely philanthropists whose modest acts of charity shine a light on the incredible power of giving—no matter how small the gift. Chris Mburu was a child living in a village in Kenya when he first received a $15 scholarship from a Swedish woman named Hilde Back. Her humble but steady sponsorship put Chris through school and eventually launched him into Harvard Law, paving the way to his job as a United Nations attorney. Now in her eighties, Hilde meets Chris for the first time as he launches his own small act of benevolence: the Hilde Back Education Fund for the children of his village. Hilde's astonishment at the potency of her long-ago gift is matched in scale by Chrisʼs surprising discovery that Hilde is not Swedish at all, but a German Jew who escaped the Holocaust.

Exploring the enduring challenges of achieving an education in the developing world, A Small Act goes on to follow Kimani, Ruth and Caroline— each at the top of their class at Mukubu primary—who are pinning their hopes on winning one of Chris’s scholarships. Interweaving their stories with those of Hilde and Chris, A Small Act reveals just how powerful a gesture of kindness and generosity can be, and that an education is perhaps the most generous gift of all.

Jennifer Arnold | 2010 | 88 min

Post-Screening Q&A

Jennifer Arnold (Director/Producer/Writer) graduated from UCLA and University of Nairobi with a B.A. in African history and returned to UCLA for an M.F.A. in film. Her award-winning film, Maid of Honor screened at Sundance before airing on HBO/Cinemax and Film 4. Jennifer returned to Sundance with her Internet series, The Mullet Chronicles, which was developed into the documentary, American Mullet and released by Palm Pictures and Lions Gate. Jennifer also co-directed a documentary for Ethan Coen and wrote a motorcross script, Speedway, which was selected for Berlin Talent Campand FINDʼs Directors Lab / Fast Track Program.


$8 / DCTV Members
$10 / Shooting People, DocuClub, NYWIFT, IFP Members
$12 / General