Video:Kenyan Diaspora Filmmaker turns to DVD pirates to foster healing in Kenya

PRINGFIELD, Mo., Feb. 5, 2013 — For Drury University Filmmaker in Residence Patrick Mureithi, his message is more important than box-office receipts. When it came time to spread his documentary “Kenya: Until Hope Is Found” throughout his home country in December of 2012, he didn’t approach movie theaters, he turned to DVD pirates.

To reach as many people as possible, Mureithi gave the film to street vendors who have been selling, and in some cases, giving the film away. He receives no royalties from these sales. “My reasoning was that since they have the most efficient distribution system in Kenya, then they would be able to get the film into as many hands as possible,” said Mureithi. “As I type, their vendors are selling the film country-wide for less than 80 shillings (approx $1).”

Mureithi started this project after the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya left more than 1,200 people dead and 500,000 displaced in his home country. His goal: To understand how to confront unresolved trauma and heal — before the March 2013 elections.  He has released an early version of the 60-minute documentary in advance of the upcoming elections in an effort to stave off another round of violence. Film critic Roger Ebert called the work “an urgent documentary by a filmmaker I admire.”

The documentary, also available on YouTube, follows severely traumatized men and women in Kibera, Kenya’s largest slum and the epicenter of the post-election violence, as they go through a workshop together called “Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities.” The workshop is hosted by the Alternatives to Violence Project Kenya, a Quaker initiative of the Friends Peace Teams. Mureithi’s work spreads a message of reconciliation to Kenyans and is a timely contribution towards what the Council on Foreign Relations has warned could be another violent presidential election on March 4th.

Mureithi, based in Springfield, Mo. as the Drury Filmmaker in Residence, plans to visit Kenya from February 10th to the 23rd to meet with reporters and promote the film across the country.

Prior to “Kenya: Until Hope is Found,” Mureithi produced “ICYIZERE:hope“, a documentary about a reconciliation workshop in Rwanda that brings together 10 survivors and 10 perpetrators of the 1994 genocide, with encouraging results.

To make a tax-deductible donation to Mureithi’s February trip and the continuation of his work, please visit

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