Directed by Alcides Soares (Mozambique)

AIDS / Orphans

Two renowned filmmakers, Chris Zalla (2007 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner) and Neal Baer (Executive Producer of Law & Order: SVU), went to Maputo, Mozambique in August 2007, to help a child who had lost both parents to AIDS make a film about his life. With Chris and Neal, 16-year-old Alcides Soares learned the art of filmmaking and was able to tell his story as a boy living alone in the world. Alcides’ life reflects that of an entire generation of Mozambican children — over 500,000 of them having lost their parents to AIDS.

Chris and Neal spent two weeks teaching Alcides the basics of filmmaking – how to use the camera, a Canon XHA1, and the sound equipment as well as techniques for conducting interviews, shooting scenes and computer editing with Final Cut Pro. The end result is a 27-minute documentary film that reveals the courage of a boy whose faith and ingenuity have enabled him to pull together a home and a sense of family.

BYkids is indebted to the support that has enabled Neal, Chris and Alcides to fulfill the telling of Alcides’ inspiring story through film. The organizations Reencontro (in Mozambique) and Venice Arts/The House is Small (in California), which help kids in document their lives through still photography, introduced Neal and Chris to Alcides and provided invaluable resources. Neal and the Law & Order: SVU writers and stars provided the camera, sound and computer equipment for the making of his film.

Leaving for Mozambique in August 2007, Chris observed, “One of the greatest things about film is that it speaks the universal language of human emotions that transcend cultural boundaries. Though the clamor of our busy world will no doubt drone on we can help add a child’s voice to that din, and just maybe, open up a new conversation. And we can listen.”

You can read more about Neal and Chris’s time in Mozambique with Alcides in their Notes from the Field.