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Project of the Day: ‘Framed’

Project of the Day: 'Framed'

Here’s your daily dose of an indie film in progress; at the end of the week, you’ll have the chance to vote for your favorite.

In the meantime: Is this a movie you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments.


Tweetable Logline: What’s behind the West’s fascination with “saving” Africa? FRAMED investigates the images and myths that cast a continent as a victim

Elevator Pitch: Want to help in Africa? Before you take action, meet Boniface Mwangi, an inspiring young Kenyan photojournalist turned activist who shatters the stereotype of the passive aid recipient. He challenges American students to focus on problems in their own country. At the same time, FRAMED turns a lens on the endless imagery of Africans as starving, violent and exotic, reframed through the eyes of a Kenyan writer and a South African educator, who ask a chorus of questions about the selling of suffering. Hollywood keeps giving us white saviors, so the moment is now for a film like FRAMED.

Production Team:

Director / Producer: Cassandra Herrman’s films have focused on immigration and exile, human and civil rights, and the intersection of music and politics, and have broadcast nationally on PBS, globally on Al Jazeera, and screened at numerous film festivals, including SXSW and Sundance. She produced, directed and photographed TULIA, TEXAS, an ITVS-funded documentary that broadcast on Independent Lens about a small town struggling with the aftermath of a controversial drug sting. Her films have been nominated for two national Emmy awards. 

Co-Producer: Kathryn Mathers is the author of the book Travel, Humanitarianism and Becoming American in Africa and is a writer and visiting scholar in the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University, where she teaches global development and urban anthropology.

Editor: Linda Peckham brings 20 years experience editing long form character driven stories to this project, as well as personal history and post colonial perspectives about Africa. After growing up in apartheid-era South Africa, Linda came to the US to study film, believing it to be the medium that most inspires change. Many of the award winning documentaries she edits have social justice themes.

Cinematographer: Andy Bowley has shot commercials, features, and documentaries for the last 20 years. Recently he contributed photography on the feature documentaries A Life’s Work, The Woman Who Wasn’t There, and Alex Gibney’s We Steal Secrets. He received a Peabody award in 2005 for his work on Voices of Civil Rights, a History Channel project. His work has won five national Emmy awards and a total of nine national Emmy nominations.

About the Production: We’re making this film because we believe it’s about something that should matter to all of us. FRAMED examines the western relationship to Africa but it’s also about how we create difference and how we unconsciously make some people more powerful and others weaker. We recognize a lot of Americans want to do good in Africa, with the best of intentions, but the way they go about it often doesn’t play out well for Africans. In western pop culture, we’re still seeing images of Africans as helpless, hopeless and without any ideas about how to change their own societies.

Current Status: We’re currently fundraising for production funds to film in Kenya with our main characters, as well as with a young former volunteer in the US.

For more information and to support this project: Kickstarter Page

If you have an in-the-works project and you’d like to be profiled in an upcoming iW Project of the Day column, submit yourself by filling out this form!

This Article is related to: Filmmaker Toolkit and tagged


Hilary Saner

I think "Framed" is timely and so so relevant – let's look at ourselves and our own problems before shipping them and ourselves offshore to make us feel better – we have been doing this since the Crusades – time to take a new look…

Debra dresbach

Excellent, worthy topic.

Ben Nichols

Such an interesting topic!

Michelle Herzog



This shines light on a new and thought-provoking topic, challenging conventional wisdom, as all good journalism should. Please make this film!


Gotta make this film. It is needed. Now.


Can't wait to see more. Fantastic.

John Z

Looks like great Doc.


Finally film like this. I loved Renzo MArtens – Enjoy Poverty, so expecting same level of open approach to Western holy saviour-ism.


So great to see this relationship examined. Such an important perspective, can't wait to see the completed film!

Diana Richard

I want to see this film!!!

Thalia Drori Ramirez

Finally, a documentary that dares to hold a mirror up to the West; our need to create a savior-victim relationship with Africa. Refreshing and brave.


Congratulations to Cassandra and Kathryn for having the courage to bring this topic to light through FRAMED. We need this film.


Congratulations, FRAMED team, on getting such an important film project underway! I donated and support others to consider it– just 16 days left to get them the funds they need to finish FRAMED and get this important message out there!


This will make such a valuable contribution. Their approach is thought-provoking and smart. The film will help to re-set the 'frame' (!) in which conversations about and plans to 'do something' happen.


Definitely interested in seeing a fresh perspective on how Africa is portrayed in the media. Looking forward to watching this movie.


I think this is an important topic and one that I have not seen talked about hart at all. I would love to see this film.


As a media studies instructor, I'm so excited that this film is being made. It is about time that a critical lens is focused on Western media's portrayals of "Africa and her problems." I can't wait to see this, and to use it in the classroom.

Susan Sullivan

This is a novel angle on a thorny subject that people on all sides of the issue are hesitant to talk about. I think this film will start many necessary and important conversations. Yes, I want to see this movie.


I am excited about this film for several reasons: 1) The trailer is well shot and edited, 2) it is being produced by accomplished film makers and academics, 3) it is about a touchy subject no one ever discusses, and 4) it asks critical questions, important to all who engage in philanthropy of any kind. I hope it, and other docs of this kind, find public support.

Amanda Kopp

Very important issues. Excited to see the film!

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