Director Jennifer Arnold on Your Own Small Act

It is every filmmaker's dream to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, and my experience this year was so unexpected and so extraordinary that I wanted to say a direct thank you to everyone who made it possible.

My film, the documentary A Small Act, tells the story of Chris Mburu, a Kenyan man whose early education was sponsored by a woman from Sweden whom he had never met. By donating roughly $15 a month to an education fund, her small contribution paid off: Chris made it all the way to Harvard Law School and then started his own scholarship program, which now sponsors new generations of Kenyan students who would otherwise not have the opportunity to go to school.

I arrived at the Sundance Film Festival this January hoping people would like my film, but I never dreamed that audiences' reactions would directly lead to changing lives. After Festival screenings, I kept hearing from people how the film empowered them to make a difference. Audience members started handing us unsolicited donations—from twenty dollar bills to thousand dollar checks. By the time the Festival was finished, $90,000 had been donated to an education fund, which means more Kenyan children will go to school. It was amazing!

Without Sundance Institute, A Small Act would have never had such an impact. The Sundance Institute's Documentary Film Program supported the film with a grant and the Festival screenings moved audiences into action. The experience showed me that Sundance is much more than an institution that promotes film; it is a platform for stories that can change the world.

Small acts, when taken collectively, have a huge impact. I know the support of patrons is what makes the work of the nonprofit Sundance Institute possible, and I want to say thank you to everyone who contributes to this important mission. I hope you will consider supporting the Institute today, because your contribution can make a huge difference to not only us individual filmmakers but also to the world at large.

Make a small act today! Click here to support artists worldwide. Much thanks to all of you!

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