Kianda Foundation was founded by four passionate and dedicated women: Mary Mahoney (USA), Margaret Curran (Ireland), Olga Marlin (USA), and Teresa Temes (Spain). They arrived in Kenya in 1960 with a mission to help women there gain equal access to education. In the face of many challenges, Kianda Secretarial College opened in Nairobi in 1961 with the assistance of these four women. It was given the name ‘Kianda’ meaning ‘fertile valley’ where everything blossoms. Sixty years later, the Kianda Foundation has flourished and empowered the life of thousands of young girls and women.
The film will take us into Kianda College classrooms in Nairobi, as well as getting a bird’s eye view of Kianda Foundation’s other projects. It will focus in particular on the Kimlea Girls Technical training in Kiambu which empowers women working on the tea plantations.
By telling the story of the Kianda Foundation through the eyes of its’ graduates, current students, and educators, the film will highlight the desperate and important need for the education of girls and young women all over the world. It will also speak to the vision of four young women in their mid-twenties with a passion for education and adventure, traveling to Africa and helping to change the lives of thousands of Kenyan girls and women. It’s an important and vivid story of commitment, contribution, equality, and community.
KIANDA PRODUCTION TEAM
Carol Ciancutti – Producer/ Director
Carol is a producer, director and development executive, dedicated to creating socially relevant projects through various mediums. Throughout her career, she has led the full production process of creative and informational productions. From producing commercials internationally for brands such as Puma, Wrigley, and Nivea – to producing full length documentaries about women’s health issues, Carol has a long track record of seeing projects through from concept to completion. Currently, she is working on a series of films surrounding men’s engagement in the effort to stop violence against women.
The film production company she founded, Amaranth Productions, has several documentary and TV projects in development and production. Her documentary, Absolutely Safe, examines the popularity and safety of breast implants. This film has been featured on major news platforms. It has been regularly screened in university classrooms and has become part of many women’s studies curriculums. Carol is a speaker on breast implant safety and informed consent, and has appeared at many universities such Harvard University, Oberlin College and the University of Chicago.
Her leadership and project management skills led to her serve as the National Education Association liaison to the White House. She recently directed and designed experiential leadership workshops for corporate and non-profit clients. While living in Nairobi, Kenya, she served as a consultant for UNICEF and founded the Kenya School of Performing Arts.
Gary Sharfin – Co-Producer/Editor
Gary Sharfin began his editing career launching Donna Karan with an award winning fashion video. He went on to start his own post production/production company, Private Idaho, where he edited ad campaigns for clients including Budweiser, Burger King and Samsung. He has edited feature films shown at Sundance, Cannes (Denise Calls Up, which won Honorable Mention for the Camera d’Or) and Tribeca Film Festival’s Drive In Series. He has edited multi camera shows for HBO (including Snaps featuring Tracy Morgan and M’onique). Sharfin has also directed a series of one hour jazz programs shot in Brazil, Tokyo and New York as well as TV commercials and music videos. He is currently developing and producing documentaries and feature films through his new company, Line 5 Media. His documentaries as producer/editor include Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend (about one of baseball’s first female head groundskeepers) which recently aired on the PBS affiliate, MPT in Baltimore, First Run Features’ Into The Fire: American Women in the Spanish Civil War (which aired on PBS as well as internationally and won the Audience Award at the Seattle Film Festival) and the soon to be released (also through First Run) Still a Revolutionary: Albert Einstein. He is currently in post production on the Native American feature film, The Heart Stays.
Juan Delcan – Animator/Graphic Design
Juan Delcan is a native of Spain where he studied architecture and fine arts and began his career as a graphic designer and illustrator. He lives and works between Los Angeles and New York. Juan has directed numerous live-action and animated projects, often combining both worlds to create stunning visual effects.
His ongoing Matchstick people series, which he developed with his wife and fellow artist Valentina Izaguirre, went viral and generated over 100 million views when he used the characters to illustrate the effectiveness of social distancing.
Catherine Bindman – Writer/Researcher
Catherine Bindman is an experienced and prolific academic editor and art historian, currently editing catalogues for international museums, publishers, and independent scholars, and writing for art journals and other publications, including the New York Review of Books.
Camerapix – Kenyan Production Company/DP & Line Producer
With over 50 years of experience, Camerapix is one of the oldest and most qualified production houses in Africa, and its television crews and photographers have extensively covered nearly every country on the continent. Through its founder, legendary photojournalist and cameraman Mohamed Amin, Camerapix has covered every major humanitarian disaster, conflict and success in Africa over the past five decades and has been a positive force of change for Africa in many areas, including helping to re-write the history of famine relief and NGO involvement in Ethiopia in 1984.