In late 2010, Los Angeles based filmmaker Vanessa Crocini embarked on a filmmaking journey that would put her storytelling skills to the test. Her five-week trip to Kenya resulted in her acclaimed 2012 documentary ‘Get Together Girls’.
The film follows the work of Grazia ‘Grace’ Orsolato, an ex account manager from Italy and the daily pursuits of her tailoring project –Get Together Girls. Although the film addresses the harsh realities of current living situations in certain areas of Kenya, this is not the main focal point. Instead Crocini diverts our attention by creating an inspirational ‘African Story’ that is creating a positive impact of instilling hope and motivating others to take action.
Crocini explains, ‘The power of documentaries these days is to inspire and educate people and so we have a mission as filmmakers to open the eyes of the general public to stories that the normal media is not addressing. If we don’t do it, whose going to do it.’. She was also careful to be respectful of the women’s stories. She ‘wanted to portray images of positivity, empowerment, creativity, collaboration and community’.
Before embarking on the project, Italian-born Crocini was looking for a change of scenery. With the poor economy and lack of jobs stateside, she was hoping to return to Africa to volunteer and make a film. This was the second time that she had been to the continent. The first time, she worked with her mentor Alessandro Rocca’ on his 2011 documentary The Consul’s List, shot in Rwanda. She raise some funds through indiegogo, run a successful pizza party and even had Italian rock legend Vasco Rossi jump aboard as executive producer which provided Crocini the confidence she needed to continue with the project.
Through the Italian non-governmental organization (NGO), Crocini was introduced to Grace Orsolato and the Get Together Girls project and the rest is history.
Grazia ‘Grace’ Orsolato’s Story
From 2002, Grazia ‘Grace’ Orsolato’s annual summers were spent volunteering at Christian community project Anita’s Home in Ngong, Kenya. Anita’s Home is a center that provides rehabilitative education and boarding for young girls (between the ages of 4 to 18) rescued from the streets. Through this Orsolato was able to form connections with the girls, but concerned that upon completion at the home, that they would return back to the streets, she decided to set up a project that would give them hope and allow them to create a better future prospects for themselves.
In 2009 Orsolato left her secure job at Pirelli ‘s in Italy and set off for Kenya to start up a dressmaking workshop ‘Get together Girls (GtoG)) – A project that would see six of the street girls (Monicah, Teresia, Esther, Hellen, Mary and Irene) transform their lives by learning sustainable skills that would allow them to support themselves financially.
‘Get Together Girls’ makes a positive impact.
Since its production, Get together Girls has been seen in over 115 countries worldwide and amassed several awards, including ‘Best Documentary’, ‘Best Directing’ and ‘Best Story’ at the Women’s Independent Film Festival in Los Angeles.
Most of the girls featured in the film have since moved on from the project with some unfortunately going back to the slums. Although this saddens Crocini, there is still that satisfaction that the film has brought a lot of awareness. She hopes that the film can be used as an educational tool to inspire other girls in Kenya and encourage them to accomplish great things.
The film is currently available on Indieflix, Yekra, Roku and will be coming soon to Hulu. To learn more about the film and stay updated, visit the official website or visit the documentary Facebook page.