By Brian Brooks | Indiewire November 3, 2005 at 9:10AM
THINKFilm has acquired theatrical rights to Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's doc "The Boys of Baraka." They will roll it out with an initial two-week run at New York's Film Forum beginning November 30. The doc focuses on a group of boys from the tough streets of inner city Baltimore who leave home to attend an experimental boarding school in rural Kenya. After enrolling in the program at the Baraka school, the kids, who come from a school with a drop out rate for African-Americans as high as 70%, begin a new path.
"Boys of Baraka" was a popular film on the festival circuit this year after having its world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW) where it received a special jury award for documentary feature. The film also won best documentary prizes at festivals this year, including Chicago, Newport and Atlanta as well as audience awards at the Silverdocs and Woodstock film festivals.
Josh Braun of Submarine represented the film, making the deal with THINKFilm. "The Boys of Baraka" gives the personal stories of four boys who leave Baltimore to attend the school, including Devon, Montrey, Richard, and Richard's younger brother Romesh. The filmmakers capture their process of adaptation to an alien environment where strict academics and homework take center stage against the backdrop of the African plain.
"We pride ourselves on finding the best documentaries with the strongest combination of head and heart," said THINKFilm's U.S. chief Mark Urman to indieWIRE. "'The Boys of Baraka' is just too good to not be a THINK film."
Independent Television Service (ITVS) and P.O.V./American Documentary, Inc. executive produced the project, while Ewing and Grady produced the film.