Day 3: Screening films at Kenyan refugee camps (and meeting Gabriel Byrne) is BTS

“The people that are the most giving, hard working and capable of making this world better usually don’t have the ego and ambition to be a leader. They don’t see any interest in superficial rewards…they actually enjoy the process of helping others. They’re in the moment.” – Celine, Before Sunset

As the cobblestone road outside Le Pure Café leisurely bakes in the mid-afternoon sun, Celine (Julie Delpy) recalls the time she worked for an organization that helped villages in Mexico. The organization’s main concern was how to get the pencils sent to kids in these little country schools. It was not about big revolutionary ideas – it was about pencils – triggering in Celine an observation about the people that make these things happen, as in the above epigraph.

Every day when I go to work, I encounter the kind of people Celine talks about, whether uploading trailers on Youtube or tirelessly doing research on foundations that provide funding for the work we do, and what they do is incredibly – and overwhelmingly – better than sex. I volunteer for an organization called FilmAid International that, in a nutshell, screens films at refugee camps in Kenya. We also have a program called “Participatory Video Program” where we teach refugees filmmaking skills that help them develop videos shown to thousands throughout the camps.  The filmmakers train their lens on a wide range of issues like conflict resolution and peace building, health education, landmine awareness, prevention of sexual abuse and gender-based violence among women and girls. You can check out the website at

Last night I helped out at a special screening at Soho house benefiting FilmAid and wonderfully presented by Grand Classics/Indyssey Entertainment. We screened “The Quiet Man”, a romantic drama set in the Irish countryside starring John Wayne and helmed by John Ford. (Mostly known for their westerns, it’s a career move similar to Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott doing “One Good Year”, but with much better results.) It was handpicked by Gabriel Byrne who was there to introduce the film (he’s Irish-American). At the party, Gabriel was so gracious that I ended up telling him about how I spotted him and his daughter walking on West 3rd between MacDougal and Sullivan last year and stalked them for half a block before I realized I was running late for an exam in Advanced Statistics. Not. Now I’m not into daddies but if you’re not sold on Gabriel’s stalk-worthiness, you obviously have not seen the final scene in the 1994 version of Little Women:

Gabriel Byrne (as Professor Bhaer): I have nothing to give, but my heart is so full and… and these empty hands.

Winona Ryder (as Jo March, years before her kleptomaniac episode):  [taking his hands in hers] Not empty now.

If you tell me that line doesn’t want to make you bungee-jump on your medulla oblongata, then I’m Lindsay Lohan. 



2 Responses to “Day 3: Screening films at Kenyan refugee camps (and meeting Gabriel Byrne) is BTS”

  1. *the storyteller Says:

    hoooray! so that’s like really awesome!

    i was waiting for you online all morning @gchat… i can’t wait to hear more about it! =)

  2. I feel like something about small cups of salmon and making fun of pretentious people could have been included somewhere. lol

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