The saying goes that “timing is everything” and that was certainly true about the premiere of our film about humanitarians entitled “we need to be many”. As luck would have it, we were just finishing up the film when Peninah Nthenya Musyimi contacted us to say she was coming to Los Angeles for a three-day visit. Peninah lives in Nairobi, Kenya and is the founder of a girl’s empowerment program called Safe Spaces. We had spent a week with her and some of the girls in her program while doing research for the play and filming for our short and long documentary. In fact, the title of our film “we need to be many” was taken from a statement made by Peninah and featured in the film. Given that Peninah would be here in about five weeks, the pressure was on to finish the film, set-up the screening and schedule some meetings to help raise awareness for her program. Panasonic Hollywood Labs agreed to donate the screening room and reception area so we quickly sent out invitations to our family, friends and colleagues. The actual night of the screening is still sort of a blur. It is the type of night you wait for and dread all at the same time. What if people don’t like the film? What if there are technical glitches? What if no one comes? All of the “what ifs” proved to be unnecessary. We had a full house, the screening when off without a hitch and the feedback was incredible. Peninah was amazing, engaging and impactful. Our guests stayed for hours to talk about the issues and people featured in the film. We had always thought some of this information would be new to people and we were right. When all was said and done, the evening helped raise some money for Safe Spaces and helped spread awareness about the issues being faced by women and girls around the world and the work humanitarians are doing to help them.
In addition to the screening, we were able to introduce Peninah to Marissa Charles the publicist for the Creative Visions Foundation, which is an organization, founded by Kathy Eldon that supports and encourages “creative activism”. Theatre for Humans is proud to be a CVF Activist Project. Marissa did an in-depth interview with Peninah that resulted in an article about Safe Spaces in the South African edition of People magazine. The L.A. Clippers donated practice jerseys and basketballs for the Safe Spaces girl’s basketball team along with a signed Chris Paul jersey for Peninah to auction at her next event. And finally, we scheduled a meeting between the L.A. Sparks (the WNBA team in Los Angeles) and Peninah. The hope is that an alliance could be formed between the girls in Safe Spaces and L.A. Sparks players. All in all not a bad three days!