Students, teacher to film documentary in Ethiopia

Jake Gutman ’10, Billy Hawkins ’09 and visual arts teacher Cheri Gaulke will travel to Ethiopia from Dec. 19 until Jan. 1 to shoot a film that documents the difference the youth can make in the lives of others.

In Ethiopia, women and young girls must walk long distances every day to collect water for their families. In turn, they cannot go to school and develop themselves. Many organizations are working to build wells within villages to give the girls the opportunity to get an education.

“We hope to make a number of small documentaries that address the water well projects as well as other possible topics,” Gaulke said.

Gutman and Gaulke will be the primary camera operators, and Hawkins will be both a subject in the documentary as well as a camera operator. Youth participants will be filmed Nov. 16 as they participate in the Pasadena Marathon, where they will carry water for part of the way in order to get a glimpse into the Ethiopian girls’ experience.

“The documentary will focus on the process that these American youth will go through as they see how different their lives are and how they can make a difference in the lives of other people,” Gaulke said.

Gutman will be the lead editor and the editing will take place at the school’s video lab. Gaulke, Gutman and Hawkins are also working with a screenwriter to develop their filming approach in advance.

In addition to visiting the water well sites, Gutman, Hawkins and Gaulke will spend time in Addis Ababa visiting other charity organizations, including the Fregenet School, Mother Teresa’s Orphanage, the Fistula Hospital and Save the Children.

“My work as a teacher is all about empowering my students to use video and film to express themselves and make a difference in the world,” Gaulke said. “Facilitating our students to create a film with global implications is a dream of mine.”