Screened as part of NZIFF 2015

Act of Kindness 2015

Directed by Costa Botes, Sven Pannell

Charting the ripple effects of real compassion, this inspiring true story follows a spirited young New Zealander’s search for the Rwandan samaritan who assisted him through a dangerous predicament over ten years before.

81 minutes DCP
Exempt

Photography

Sven Pannell
,
Fabrice Kirwa

Editor

Costa Botes

Music

Olive Musique
,
Richard Heacock
,
Bernie Gardner
,
Tom Mcleod

Sound Design and Mix

Matt Stutter

Colourist

John Newell

Online editor

Tim Willis

In 1999, Sven Pannell, a Kiwi traveller in Africa, escaped from a perilous run-in with rebel soldiers, bargaining for his life with a wad of cash he had hidden in his boot. Broke and without any place to stay, Pannell came across a crippled, homeless samaritan named Johnson, who fed and sheltered him until he was able to flee the region. He left in such a hurry he never got the chance to thank him.

A decade later, Pannell returned to Rwanda with the hope of doing just that. Armed with a camera and a surfeit of optimistic pluck, he launches a dogged hunt for the man who generously came to his aid all those years ago – plastering up flyers, searching through registries, even broadcasting his compelling testimony to millions via Rwandan radio.

Throughout this affecting chronicle, Pannell and co-director Costa Botes capture an intimate, grassroots portrait of a nation’s resilience and compassion, observing the will of a people who’ve refused to be defined by the horrors of their tumultuous history. — JF