He’s from a place so old it’s been called the cradle of mankind. She’s led a privileged life in America without hardship or pain. Together these two unlikely friends embark upon a journey from the heights of Mt. Kilimanjaro to the depths of an AIDS ravaged village where even the smallest children become outcasts at the mere hint of the disease and malaria is an ever-present threat. As Venance and Kristen experience the ancient culture, heart-breaking poverty, and eternal spirituality of Venance’s motherland, the ability of the Tanzanian people to love, dream, and persevere in the face of overwhelming hardship triggers a life-changing transformation in Kristen—one that brings her face to face with her own mortality and will ultimately cause thousands of lives to be saved. Tanzania: A Journey Within is a dramatic, emotional, and visually stunning odyssey that will challenge and inspire you.
Kristen is a passionate storyteller, host, activist, world explorer and malaria fighter. She grew up a Navy brat, having traveled all over the States, before landing in Virginia Beach. At a young age Kristen knew she wanted to tell stories as a living. She went on to study broadcast journalism and play D1 soccer at Elon University in North Carolina before transferring to the University of Miami, where she earned her BS in Communications.
In 2007, Kristen found her ‘professional’ voice as a correspondent for PBS in Orlando, and quickly discovered her passion for social enterprise and inspiring others to make a difference.
She had the once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Africa to star in an award-winning documentary (Tanzania A Journey Within). It was in Tanzania when she learned a thing or two about survival in the developing world. She climbed Kilimanjaro, lived with tribes and is lucky to be alive after a near-deadly encounter with a malaria mosquito. She was bed ridden for four days on an IV, and barely survived. Kristen immediately found inspiration in this life-threatening experience and took action. Leveraging her television background as a platform, she founded the “Buy A Bracelet, Save A Life” movement and non-profit Malaika (angel) For Life – (501c3) with her best friend/co-founder, Anna Wascher. Malaika For Life is a global movement inspiring others that they can make a difference with their purchase. Kristen was recently a guest on the nationally televised show, The Doctors, and her malaria story is the most-watched AOL original.
A former D1 athlete, Kristen always had a passion for those human interest sports stories like “The Million Dollar Arm.” She began her sports broadcast career with FOX Sports Next as a college football recruiting correspondent in Washington, DC. She broke several national stories on the recruiting front, while also creating original content for FOX Sports Digital. Shortly after, she was selected to cover the London 2012 Olympics, and her career blossomed.
Today, she enjoys her new role as the pit reporter for the Red Bull Global RallyCross series on NBC and host for Altered Course on Golf Channel.
Venance originates from the Haya tribe, located in the far west corner of Tanzania, just miles from the volatile nations of Rwanda, Uganda and the Congo. When he arrived in America for his university studies, it was as though he had time traveled 600 years into the future. Suddenly he had all the resources he needed to begin to find the solutions and answers to his lifelong questions. While studying Physics at the University of Miami it became clear that his studies could not only be those of physical science. He needed to understand the science of the human spirit and what committed people to an idea, a purpose or a cause. As Venance continues to deepen his understanding of himself and the world around him, he is committed to giving back to the global community by promoting knowledge and awareness. This Spring he is launching Kwanini? Fashion, a brand designed to cultivate the minds around the globe through style and fashion. Its clothing line is ethically produced in Africa and the USA, each piece designed with meanings to provoke questioning and thinking. Part of the proceeds will contribute to support education in his home country. Venance is also working with a team to launch Kwanini? Foundation, a non profit organization through which he hopes to encourage children of all ages to always search for Kwanini ("why") in the world around them. In doing so it offers a way to raise awareness, passion and hope for emerging peoples of the world. He also continues to lecture and teach kids at schools throughout Florida and is also completing the book, "The Man We Never Knew," a comprehensive history of man's creativity from dreams to storytelling, from storytelling to poetry and philosophy, and his ability to bring these fantasies into what he sees as reality (science).
Sylvia Caminer - Director/Producer
Sylvia Caminer is an Emmy® Award-winning director with extensive credits in theatre, film and television. Over the past twenty years she has filmed on five continents, beginning her producing career in the independent New York film scene. She recently expanded her focus to directing (and producing) feature-length documentaries. In July of 2014 she had a command performance of her latest documentary, TANZANIA: A JOURNEY WITHIN for the President of Tanzania and distinguished guests at his State House in Dar es Salaam. “Tanzania” is a multi-award winner which opened in theaters in the USA in April/May 2014. Her feature debut, AN AFFAIR OF THE HEART, opened theatrically to critical acclaim in NYC in 2012 before wide release on television, VOD and DVD. It chronicles the unique relationship between pop icon Rick Springfield and his intensely devoted fans exploring the impact fan adoration has on several families.
For Discovery/Travel Channel Sylvia directed and produced three long-running hit series featuring Samantha Brown GREAT HOTELS (which she also co-wrote), PASSPORT TO EUROPE and PASSPORT TO LATIN AMERICA. She has also produced various programs for TLC, WE, Lifetime & PBS and also directed/produced several web series.
Sylvia’s production company, DolGer Films, most recently acted as the U.S. production company for the Harvey Keitel film, CHOSEN. DolGer Films currently has two new narrative films in release. AFTERMATH (Anthony Michael Hall, Chris Penn, Frank Whaley, Lily Rabe, Elisabeth Rohm & Tony Danza) which opened theatrically with Freestyle Releasing on Nov. 28 and hit VOD/DVD April 21st. The multi-award winner, GRACE. (Annika Marks & Sharon Lawrence) is currently in distribution with E One and DUTCH BOOK starring Keith David & Richard Edson was recently completed.
Among others Sylvia previously produced the critically-acclaimed feature romantic fable BLUE MOON, starring screen legends Ben Gazzara and Rita Moreno, directed by John Gallagher. She previously teamed with Gallagher on the popular cult comedy THE DELI, (Mike Starr, Gretchen Mol, Ice T, Michael Imperioli, Iman). LOVE ‘N DANCING (Amy Smart, Billy Zane, Rachel Dratch and Betty White); BREAKING POINT (Tom Berenger, Busta Rhymes and Armand Assante) MIXING NIA (Karyn Parsons & Isaiah Washington) and THE ANIMAL ROOM (Neil Patrick Harris, Amanda Peet & Matthew Lillard),
Through DolGer Films, Sylvia is developing several socially-relevant documentaries as well as several non-fiction series, and plans to make her narrative feature directorial debut in 2015/2016 with BLACKOUT GIRL based on the award winning memoir. She is also developing THE EXCHANGE, a screenplay she penned with John Gallagher which she plans to direct in late 2016.
Michael Hinds - Executive Producer
Michael is one of the four original partners along with Venance, Sylvia & Kristen. of IndiGenius Films which is the founding entity that developed "Tanzania: A Journey Within". Michael’s background is in construction materials and pharmaceuticals and served as the Executive Producer for "Tanzania: A Journey Within" which marks his first entry into film producing.
He is currently partnered with Venance Ndibalema as the CEO of the Kwanini? Fashion, inspiring the world to ask why? Michael has a great deal of experience living and doing business in Tanzania and returns for selecting African made, Kwanini? Fashion materials for new designs.
Burton Ritchie - Executive Producer
Burton Ritchie is a film producer and lifelong, successful serial entrepreneur. His producer or executive producer credits include “Low Down,” (2014 Sundance winner, Best Cinematography), “Copenhagen,” (2014 Slamdance winner, Audience Award), “Welcome to Me,” (starring Kristen Wiig and James Marsden), “Eating Animals” (a documentary starring Natalie Portman about ethical treatment of animals) and others. Burton is a passionate advocate for sustainable energy. He also serves on the Ambassador Council of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and is an outspoken supporter of gender equity, civil rights and LGBT rights.
Avril Beukes - Edited By
Avril Beukes has edited more than 30 feature films. Highlights include "Little One" (South Africa's Official Selection for the 2013 Oscars), "Yesterday" (nominated for the 2005 Foreign Film Oscar), "Fanie Fourie's Lobola" (Winner of the Audience Award for Best Film at the 2013 Seattle International Film Festival) and "Red Dust" starring Hilary Swank and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Before relocating to the US, Avril won numerous editing awards in South Africa for her work in film and television.
Rika Camizianos - Edited By
After graduating from the Pratt Institute in New York in 1996, Rika Camizianos returned to South Africa to pursue a career in feature films and television. She edited numerous television sitcoms as well as documentaries. She was a co-editor (with Avril Beukes) on "Lullaby" starring Melissa Leo and "Number 10", a sports drama set in the world of rugby. Upon her return to the US, Rika joined Dick Clark Productions' Digital Division as Lead and Supervising Editor.
Douglas Bachman - Director of Photography
Not long ago, Douglas found himself enduring crippling humidity while bushwhacking through the Guyana rainforest to document a remote native village, when he had an epiphany. He was born for this– to bring the unseen and misunderstood to light. Then he pondered an even deeper notion– "Did I take my malaria pill this morning?" With 20 years in film and television, Douglas has worked on six continents on productions ranging from features to series TV to commercials. To list a few highlights, he shot and/or directed for National Geographic's SHANE UNTAMED, Discovery's THE SHIFT, Travel Channel's 5 TAKES and A&E's, THE FIRST 48. Commercial clients include Verizon, T-Mobile, iCare, South Carolina State Parks, along with projects for New York State Health and Education, Child Family Health International and TANZANIA: A JOURNEY WITHIN star Kristen's malaria charity, Malaika for Life. As for features, he had the honor of having co-shot the groundbreaking AUTISM EVERY DAY, which premiered at Sundance and was hand-picked for an Oprah Special. He was DP for Sylvia Caminer's multi-award winning rock doc, AN AFFAIR OF THE HEART, about 80's icon Rick Springfield and his still rabid fans. But it was with TANZANIA: A JOURNEY WITHIN, that he faced his biggest challenge. To document the punishing seven day climb up Mount Kilimanjaro, each night he snuggled his camera, batteries, laptop and hard drives inside his sleeping bag to prevent them from freezing. Minus 30 degrees, 60 mile per hour winds, no sleep, hungry, exhausted – he considers it the happiest week of his career. More at: www.douglasbachman.com
Francisco Aliwalis - Director of Photography
Francisco Aliwalas is a Manhattan based producer and award-winning filmmaker. Recently, he was the Director of Photography for Nat Geo Wild's Shane O's Wild Life and was the Field Producer and Director of Photographer for A&E's latest unscripted investigative drama, THE RUNAWAY SQUAD. For the Travel Channel series, 5 TAKES, he was the Director, Videographer, and Series Producer for four seasons. He was also the host/producer of YOUR TRAVEL GUIDE for that same network. In the realm of music videos, he directed, shot, and edited a dozen which have rotated on various MTV channels around the world. Francisco has made web content for Nike, Coke, Verizon, R.J. R. Reynolds, New York Post, Current TV, Google Travel, Ford Models, General Electric, Hartz, Leblon Cachca, SAP, and Alcatel Lucent. Two of his latest documentaries, as the Director of Photography, have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and Hot Docs in Toronto. Recently, the feature doc, WINGS OF DEFEAT, which he shot, won Best Documentary/Above and Beyond Award, Best Documentary voted by the Women Film Critics Circle. The same film won Best Overlooked Film 2008, Progie Awards, James Egee Cinema Circle. He also won Best Picture, Director, and Editor at MTV World's 72 Hour Short Film Shoot-Out and his series for Conde Naste's Concierge.com titled 24 Hours in…won Best Online Video Series as voted by Magazine Publishers of America. In 2012, his HGTV Architectural web series won a Telly Award for Best Online Video Series. His reel can be viewed at www.franfilm.com.
The Footnote - Original Music
The Footnote are David Rhodes and Richard Evans. They also collaborate regularly with Hungarian composer / conductor Peter Peiitsik. David and Richard have a long musical pedigree, having worked with and as part of Peter Gabriel's band for 25 years. David's history is as a guitarist and songwriter starting his career with his band Random Hold. Pretty soon after their first tour supporting Peter Gabriel, David joined Peter Gabriel's band and has now been working with Peter Gabriel for 30 years. During that period David also honed his skills as a record producer and began writing music for feature films. He wrote the entire scores for Lucky and Zorba (La Gabbianella e il Gatto) Dir: Enzo D'Alo (Cecci Gori Films) and L'uomo Perfetto (The Perfect Man) Dir: Daniel Lucetti (Cattleya Films) David also wrote music for some adverts and art house films. Richard Evans joined Real World Studios soon after leaving university and worked as an engineer, mix engineer and record producer. As a multi instrumentalist he played various instruments on many of the albums that came through the studio and also honed his production credits. He also got the opportunity to co-write some adverts with Simon Emmerson in the early 90s. An early production of Richards was Ayub Ogada's En Mana Kuyayo and tracks off that album have found their way onto many Hollywood Movies including I Dreamed of Africa, The Wild Thornberrys, and recently The Constant Gardener. Both David and Richard did work on Peter Gabriel's Passion soundtrack (Music for martin Scorsese's Last Temptation of Christ) and in the late 90s were working together writing and producing music for Peter Gabriel projects including work with Phillipe Starck and for the Mezzo TV channel. They then collaborated with Peter Gabriel on his OVO Show (Music for the Millennium Dome) and Richard co-wrote some tracks with Peter Gabriel for that score. David and Richard also produced and arranged Peter Gabriel's soundtrack for Rabbit Proof Fence which was nominated for a Golden Globe. David created the theme music for the Discovery Atlas series and The Footnote composed the score for several episodes (Australia, China, India, South Africa). The Footnote also did the score for National Geographic: Sea Monsters (a 3D Adventure) (Giant Screen Film). In 2014 David will be touring again with Peter Gabriel in Europe and Richard is currently music director for Birdy, touring extensively in Europe and America.
Heretic Films - Distributor
Heretic Films is a film production and finance company that specializes in supporting emerging talent in the low to mid budget independent film arena. Heretic has produced, exec produced or financed six films in its first year alone, and is looking to build on this with a slate of authored, independently spirited yet commercially viable features. To date, Heretic has produced or executive produced LOW DOWN (premiering in competition at Sundance 2014), COPENHAGEN (premiering Slamdance 2014), WELCOME TO ME (starring Kristen Wiig, currently in post-production), MISERY LOVES COMEDY (feature documentary directed by Kevin Pollack, currently in production), BIG SIGNIFICANT THINGS (currently in post), PUMP (an oil documentary by Academy-nominated Josh Tickell), EATING ANIMALS (documentary with Natalie Portman, in production), and has a host of other feature projects in development and preproduction. They are also branching out into distribution and TANZANIA: A JOURNEY WITHIN marks their first theatrical release.