Canadian filmmaker explores Rotary in Tanzania
Michaud gets ready to shoot footage for her documentary, Friends We Haven’t Met Yet. Courtesy of the Tsawwassen-Tanzania Group Study Exchange team
Rotarian Deneka Michaud, 26, is screening her first feature-length documentary about her experience on a Group Study Exchange sponsored by the Rotary Club of Tsawwassen (Delta), British Columbia, Canada.
Along with four other Canadian women, Michaud, a reporter and producer for Canada's Delta Cable, was selected to travel to Tanzania in the fall of 2007. She brought a camera and other equipment to document the experience.
Michaud, who joined the Rotary Club of North Vancouver after she returned from the exchange, says that before the trip, she had a general concept for the film, which features slices of life in Tanzania, images of nature and wildlife, and several Rotary club projects.
"But what I didn't expect was all the incredible people we'd meet. Knowing Canadian Rotarians, I knew that Tanzanian Rotarians would be great people, but when they are embracing you, you really make a connection," she says.
The team included Erin Robinson, a microfinance program manager; Shannon Thompson, a recruitment manager; Jennifer Wesman, a literacy program coordinator who recently joined the Rotary Club of Vancouver Quadra; and team leader Nancy Nikolai, of the Rotary Club of New Westminister-Royal City. Together, they saw several club projects in action and identified three they felt strongly about supporting: the Ocean Road Cancer Institute and a primary school for deaf and blind children in Dar es Salaam, and the Tusome literacy project in Zanzibar.
The group set a goal of raising C$15,000 (US$11,750) for the projects. Already, several Canadian and Tanzanian clubs have contributed more than two-thirds of that amount.
"These women are exceptional," says Bryan Kelly, media relations chair for the Tsawwassen (Delta) club. "When they came and did their presentation to our club, they blew us away."
Michuad says she hopes to raise the rest of the money with help from her documentary, Friends We Haven’t Met Yet.
"There's something for everyone," she says. "Rotarians will enjoy it: They’ll learn more about Rotary. People who know nothing about Rotary will enjoy it: It explains what Rotary is. And people who love history, nature, and travel will love it too."
The 105-minute film premiered 28 February at Vancity Theatre in Vancouver. The documentary will air in the coming months on Delta Cable in Canada.
For more information or to support the projects featured in the film, contact Deneka Michaud at 778-840-5122.
View a trailer for Friends We Haven’t Met Yet.