October 6, 2010 — The documentary Pushing the Elephant tells the story of Rose Mapendo, who was imprisoned with her family during the violence that engulfed the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It is a powerful and uplifting family portrait that explores the long-term and often hidden effects of war on women and families. Following a screening of the film, Rose Mapendo, her brother Dr. Kigabo Mbazumutima, and filmmakers Beth Davenport and Elizabeth Mandel presented a discussion with IGH Associate Director Heather Wipfli.
This screening and lecture were presented by the USC Institute for Global Health and the USC School of Cinematic Arts Outside the Box [Office] Series.
Humanitarian, Activist & Congolese Genocide Survivor
Rose Mapendo is challenging the global community to accept peace and reconciliation. Rose and her husband, born in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, had seven children when the Rwandan army invaded the Congo and war broke out in August 1998. Rose, a Tutsi, was targeted and held in a death camp — where she gave birth to twins on the floor of her cell. With help from the United States, Rose resettled here and cofounded Mapendo New Horizons, a health care organization, with her brother, Dr. Kigabo Mbazumutima. She has been honored by The White House and, in 2009, was named The United Nations Humanitarian of the Year. Today, she advocates for anti-violence policy and initiatives to protect women and children of Africa.
Having worked in various capacities at Big Mouth since 2003, Beth Davenport brings over eight years of production and outreach experience in television, commercials and award winning documentaries for P.O.V., Sundance Channel, BBC and Arte France as well as directing advocacy videos and short films. Her film credits include: the Emmy-nominated film Deadline, Thomas Balmes’ Wrongful Death and Election Day. Beth is currently a producer at Arts Engine, Inc., Big Mouth Films and is producing Asexuality: The Making of a Movement, directed by Angela Tucker and directing Pushing The Elephant, a feature-length documentary work-in-progress. Davenport was a mentor for the IFP Documentary Rough Cut Lab for three years and is a NYFA Fellow. She graduated with a degree in Sociology and Peace and Conflict Resolution from Wayne State University.
Elizabeth Mandel produced the film Arctic Son (premiered at Full Frame, 2006, broadcast on POV in 2007) with Dallas Brennan Rexer. She was a co-producer on Jennifer Fox’s film and six part series, Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman, served as an associate producer for Jasmine Dellal’s When the Road Bends…Tales of a Gypsy Caravan, and was the producer of the Deadline DVD. She directs and produces educational videos for non-profit organizations such as Johns Hopkins Medical Center’s Project Restore, in addition to producing spots for Nickelodeon and Sundance Channel. She recently created a series of five educational and organizational videos for Jewish Women International, designed to heighten awareness around the issue of gender-based violence in the Jewish community. She is a 2008 NYFA Fellow. Prior to joining Big Mouth in 2001, Mandel worked for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in Bombay, India, and for the United Nations and the Asia Foundation. She has also worked in Cambodia, Nepal and Japan on a variety of women’s security and empowerment projects, as well as micro enterprise, community development, leadership training and citizen participation projects. She holds a Master’s Degree from Columbia University in International Affairs, with a focus on Women’s Economic and Political Development and graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia University with a B.A. in Religion and East Asian Languages and Cultures.
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