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IDENTITY Director Andrew Walton’s Documentary ‘The Thing That Happened’ Wins Best Documentary Short at United Nations Association Film Festival

Doc Profiles School that Educates Ugandan Survivors of Abduction and Rebel Attacks

New York, NY – October 27, 2011 – The Thing That Happened, a documentary short directed and produced by IDENTITY director Andrew Walton, won the Grand Jury Prize for best documentary short at the United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF) in Palo Alto, Calif last week and will also have its New York premiere at New York’s Documentary Festival, Nov 2-10.

The 20-minute documentary profiles the Hope North Secondary and Vocational School in northern Uganda. Founded by Okello Sam, a victim of Rebel attacks, the school is a refuge for children caught in the crossfire of Uganda’s civil war – those who were orphaned, forced to be child soldiers, or left in abject poverty. The film focuses on the many challenges facing Hope North’s teachers as they try to help the children overcome their pasts and build a positive future.

Walton, a commercial director represented by IDENTITY, produced The Thing That Happened independently with the help of private donors and fiscal sponsorship from non-profit Arts Engine, who also helped the director finance his first full-length feature documentary, Arctic Son in 2007. The director raised $10,000 to cover travel costs for himself and DP Jeff Stonehouse to spend three weeks filming at the school in Uganda, and collaborated with many other talented individuals and organizations who donated time and resources including Whitehouse Editorial, IDENTITY, Gramercy Post, Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys, musician Michael Rohatyn and others.

In keeping with his trademark realism and humanistic storytelling style, Walton spent the first few days at Hope North getting to know the students and teachers and building up a sense of trust before shooting. Walton and Stonehouse shot with Canon 5D and 7D cameras and used natural lighting throughout to make the experience less invasive for their interview subjects. The film captures not only profound stories of loss and suffering, but also the incredible natural beauty of the region and the hope and optimism of the school’s teachers and students.

“This school is incredibly remote, it has no electricity, no technology, and around 200 students sharing 4 textbooks. Even if you don’t know anything about the civil war in Uganda or the Lord’s Resistance Army, you watch this film and understand immediately that this is simply a school that needs help. And the goal with this film is to help them out,” explained Walton.

“I feel incredibly lucky in my job as a director, and this film not only allowed me to experience the creative freedom I don’t usually experience in the advertising world—but also an opportunity to apply my filmmaking skills towards a very great cause, not to mention work with so many amazing people. From cinematographer Jeff Stonehouse, to editor Steve Jess to composers Adam Horovitz and Michael Rohatyn who all generously donated their time and talent to this film,” Walton concluded.

Walton was introduced to Hope North as a potential film subject by Cause Effect Agency, a media and marketing firm dedicated to promoting good causes; click here for more information about Hope North or to donate money to the school.

In a world where sameness is on the rise, IDENTITY wins by imprinting every project with visual sophistication and refreshing individuality. Leveraging a highly-sought after directorial roster, Owner/EP Joe Masi has made his mark on award-winning work for Nintendo, Honda, Budweiser, 7UP, Tommy Hilfiger, Infiniti, and Gucci. IDENTITY fosters and supports an environment where creativity can flourish. Headlining the visual-style genre, IDENTITY’s directors cover the complete range of storytelling and effects. IDENTITY’s directorial roster includes: Anthony Atanasio, Javier Blanco, Laurent Chanez, Scott Corbett, Pierluca de Carlo, Sophie Caretta, Mathilde De L’ecotais, Fortune Cookie, Leo Kocking, Robert Leacock and Andrew Walton.


Title: The Thing That Happened
Directed and Produced by: Andrew Walton
Edited by: Stephen Jess
Cinematographer: Jeff Stonehouse
Original Score by: Adam Horovitz & Michael Rohatyn
Colorist: Matt Schwab
Re-Recording Mixer: Joel Raabe

Editorial services provided by: The Whitehouse Post
Visual Effects provided by: Carbon VFX
Sound facilities provided by: Grammercy Post

Fiscal sponsorship provided by: Arts Engine

Major Funding provided by: The San Francisco Foundation
Additional Funding provided by: The W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Chris & Betty Christ; Jim & Lucy Mooney; Jonathan & Salome Walton; Dan & Judy Guy

Presented by: Walton Films in association with Identity Media