110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Documentary follows life-changing journey to Africa
posted May 23, 2014 - 4:46:07pm
A documentary produced by a filmmaker who lives in DeLand is causing a stir across the nation, and raising money to combat a deadly disease, as well.
The film, which follows a trek by two young people from Miami to Africa, debuted earlier in May in New York City and Los Angeles, and has already won honors at nine film festivals.
“Producer and director, Sylvia Caminer, does a beautiful job mixing the exquisite visuals with the deep emotional triumphs of these two characters. Veteran cameraman Douglas Bachman's footage is a marvel,” Nancy Cohen-koan said in her review published online by Huffington Post.
Caminer, an Emmy-winning director and producer who has filmed on five continents, said Tanzania came about after she met a young native of that country through her work. He had come to Miami to go to college.
Thoroughly Westernized after nine years in the United States, the young man planned to return to his native country, accompanied by a woman he had befriended in Miami. Caminer saw the possibilities of a great story.
“He’s from a place so old, it’s been called the cradle of mankind. She’s led a privileged life in America without hardship or pain. Together these two unlikely friends embark upon a journey from the heights of Mount Kilimanjaro to the depths of an AIDS-ravaged village, where even the smallest children become outcasts at the mere hint of the disease, and malaria is an ever-present threat,” reads a synopsis at the website www.tanzaniathemovie.com.
The traveling companions are Kristen Kenney and Venance Ndibalema. The synopsis goes on to note that the journey “triggers a life-changing transformation in Kristen — one that brings her face to face with her own mortality, and will ultimately cause thousands of lives to be saved.”
Caminer’s production company teamed with the nonprofit organization Malaria No More, and proceeds from each ticket sold will be used to help children suffering from malaria.
Caminer’s personal journey brought her to DeLand in 2001. She moved from her native New York City to be closer to her parents, and landed in DeLand because her sister, Irene Gercak, already lived here.
“I didn’t think I would stay,” Caminer said. “And here it is 13 years later, and I’m still here.”
Caminer, who lives on Lake Talmadge, said she is able to get a lot of work done in DeLand’s peaceful atmosphere, which contrasts sharply with kinetic New York City, she said.
“It’s been the perfect, kind of unplugged, atmosphere,” she said.
A moviemaker since 1993, Caminer said she has also found work with Florida production companies. Passionate about films since childhood, she decided to pursue filmmaking as a career after leaving the University of Vermont, where she was studying biochemistry, and traveling across Europe.
Her parents supported her decision, she said, despite a concern that making a living at filmmaking might prove difficult. It turned out OK, she said.
“I’ve been doing nothing but making a living in this business since 1993,” Caminer said.
Cinematique is at 242 S. Beach St. in Daytona Beach. For tickets to Tanzania: A Journey Within, call the box office at 386-252-3118.
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