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Films on Sierra Leone and adoption among those at Roxbury Film Fest

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The Roxbury International Film Festival, which begin in 1999 as a way to “showcase and honor the work of emerging and established filmmakers of color,” kicks off Wednesday night at the Museum of Fine Arts.

As the festival enters its 16th year Examiner.com got a chance to speak with two participating filmmakers.

Raouf Jacob’s film “A Culture of Silence,” chronicles a journey across Jacob’s native Sierra Leone. In the film Jacob and Executive Producer Lara Moreno focus on issues including the practices of the diamond mining industry and culturally sensitive topics such as female genital mutilation.

“There was a lot of hesitation to make this film,” says Jacob “but we intrinsically believed these issues needed attention and we had a moral obligation.”

Christopher Wilson’s film, “You Have His Eyes” was originally going to be about adoption, with Wilson, who was adopted by a loving white family, playing a smaller role.

“Originally my story would just be one of the stories highlighted,” says Wilson.

But as Wilson and his partners worked on the story it was decided to focus on Wilson’s reunion with his biological mother, and the search for his biological father, Jamaican track star Lionel Scott. That search would eventually include a private investigator, a psychic, and many emotional moments.

“Every screening has had tears in the audience,” Wilson says.

While the filmmakers looked at different topics, they are subjects each filmmaker was passionate about.

“A film shouldn’t be a means to an end,” says Jacob “but as art in motion that can inspire and bring about change.”

Wilson concurs saying the story comes before anything else.

“You need to find a story you want to tell,” says Wilson “if you don’t have the passion you won’t see it.”

The Roxbury International Film Festival runs until June 29th, for more info visit the festival’s website.

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