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BC Filmmaker's New Film About Restoring Peace in Kenya to Premiere at Museum of Fine Arts


CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (September 2011) –  The story of Kenya’s struggles to restore its standing as a peaceable, democratic icon of East Africa is depicted in a new documentary by Boston College filmmaker John Michalczyk that will premiere at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston on Sept. 21.

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Still from the documentary "Kenya: Passing the Baton"

“Kenya: Passing the Baton” (2011, 50 min.) will be screened at 7:30 p.m. at the MFA’s Remis Auditorium, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston. Ticket information here.

Kenya was once a stable, democratic country, with a robust economy. It had a highly admired tourism industry and was relatively peaceful, compared to other African countries, despite the fact that its population of 37 million was split into 40 ethnic groups.

Change came in December 2007 with the re-election of President Mwai Kibaki. The election was charged as flawed and was challenged. Violence quickly broke out across Kenya, resulting in the deaths of more than 1400 people and the displacement of 300,000 others.  

"The goal of ‘Kenya: Passing the Baton’ is to shed light on the struggle of a people and a government to create a united, civil society from one currently split by disturbing tribal tensions, corruption, land distribution, and social issues exacerbated by the severe drought of 2009," said Michalczyk, a professor of fine arts at Boston College who produced and directed the film.

Other film credits include: Boston College Theologian Raymond Helmick, SJ, (associate producer); Liz Walker (narrator); Clark Booth (script); Elias Mokua, SJ (field producer); Gautam Chopra (editor); and two members of BC’s Class of 2011 Rogelio Thomas and Stone Yu. Funding for the project came from the Thomas and Erma Jean Tracy Family Foundation, the Jesuit Institute at Boston College and Rotary International.

Michalczyk is an accomplished documentary film producer, writer and director whose films explore issues of social justice, discrimination, hatred, war and peace. His work has been seen on public television and in international film festivals. Contact Prof. Michalczyk at 617-552-3895 or email him at john.michalczyk@bc.edu.