More Than Chess

26 Sep 2016, Posted by silentimages in Blog

“I have an amazing story for you to capture, Dave,” Rodney said to me over a Skype call as I sat in an old hotel room in Gulu, Uganda.

Rodney, the director of Sports Outreach, convinced me to take a drive to Kampala to meet a Ugandan girl named Phiona. And she became the heroine for one of the first short documentaries Silent Images ever produced.

Now six years later we find ourselves sitting in a theatre watching her story celebrated through a full feature Disney film: Queen of Katwe.

Honestly, it was bizarre to sit in a theatre and see the story being told with Academy award winning actors and a multi million-dollar budget.  However, what makes this story “successful” has nothing to do with cameras or budget.

I smile as I reflect on the state of Silent Images when we first told this story in 2010.

I felt completely overwhelmed with the invitation. I was only a still photographer. I had little experience with a video camera, and definitely had never thought of producing a short documentary. Funds were scarce for SI, so I could not even hire other staff. It was just me, a few volunteers and some faithful videographers (like Keith Furr) who were willing to work for minimal pay.

On the other side of the globe, a faithful missionary named Robert was also maximizing his limited resources, so he could run a chess camp and create opportunities for children living in the slums.

Although Disney might not recognize it, the story is powerful because God is in the center of it. The movie is about Phiona’s amazing life, but to me, it is also about weak men with little resources who simply show up, and for some reason God decides to use. God loves to make big things happen when resources are scarce…leaving only Him to receive the credit.

This story that now appears in a very polished and professional form will always be a reminder to me of the importance of taking on new challenges, trusting in the Lord to provide all the resources, and applauding faithful missionaries like Robert.

Silent Images may never again produce a story that turns into a Disney film, but we are committed to continue our pursuit of telling stories that celebrate the hope and redemption that exists in spite of poverty, oppression and natural disasters.  Thank you to everyone who supports us so we can continue this mission.

And thank you, Robert and Phiona, for sharing your story with Silent Images.  It has been an honor to be on this journey with you two.



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