The AIDS epidemic has had a profound effect on African families, leaving an estimated 1.2 million children orphaned in South Africa alone. Told largely through the eyes and voice of 12-year-old Slindile Moya, from a family of nine siblings who lost their parents to AIDS, the uplifting HBO documentary We Are Together: The Children of Agape Choir celebrates the remarkable life-changing odyssey of children who overcome hardship through love, community and music.
Filmed over the course of three years, We Are Together: The Children of Agape Choir focuses on Slindile Moya's family, including an older brother who lives at home and has the HIV virus, as well as other residents of the orphanage who are members of the choir. Ten years ago, amid the rapid increase in HIV infection, Zodwa Mqadi, called "Grandma" by the children, founded the Agape Child Care Center to house and educate orphaned children. ("Agape" is Greek for "unconditional love.") Despite a lack of funding, Grandma provides a home to children, where they overcome difficult situations with help from their friends and their love of music and rhythm. She decides to bring the music of the children's remarkable a capella choir to the world, aiming to inspire contributions to expand Agape and help more children.
Grandma and her choir overcome many obstacles, including a cancelled trip to the U.K., a devastating fire and a family tragedy, to make that dream come true. The choir records a CD with the help of South African pop star Zwai Bala and travels to New York, performing with Alicia Keys and Paul Simon at Keep a Child Alive's annual Black Ball. Despite the hardships in the children's lives, their infectious smiles and beautiful voices make people believe in a vibrant future.
We Are Together: The Children of Agape Choir made its North American premiere at 2007's Tribeca Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award. Overall, the film has won more than 15 festival awards, being honored at Edinburgh, One World, Amnesty International, IDFA and the IDA Awards, among others.
HBO Documentary Films in association with Palm Pictures and Channel 4 British Documentary Film Foundation present A Rise Films Production; editors, Masahiro Hirakubo and Ollie Huddleston; music performed by The Children Of Agape; original music by Dario Marianelli; associate producers, Annie Roney, Pauline Von Moltke; executive producers, Leigh Blake, Jess Search; producers, Teddy Leifer, Paul Taylor; director, Paul Taylor. For HBO: supervising editor, Geof Bartz, A.C.E.; senior producer, Nancy Abraham; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.
2008 Documentary Films Series