Northwestern to screen award-winning film

The award-winning film, The Fourth World, produced by Mark Volkers, will be shown on the Northwestern College campus green Thursday, Aug. 29, at 8:30 p.m.

Volkers, with assistance from Dordt College students, shot the film over a three-year period, mostly in the Philippines, Guatemala and Kenya.

“We wanted to tell the story of a billion people—one in six of us—who live in a slum,” said Volkers. “But it’s impossible to wrap our minds around a number like that. So to help us deal with the macro-picture of global poverty, we tell micro-stories—stories of individuals who are part of that one billion.”

In Manila, Philippines, the crew spent a week with a family that lives under a bridge and digs in garbage. They focused on the 15-year-old daughter, Jovelyn.

In Guatemala City, Volkers and his assistants spent a week with two women. One, Salma, was sold into the sex trade at age eight by her mother. The other, Tanya, was shot in the spinal cord a decade ago. She survives by begging – from her wheelchair – on a busy street corner.

In Nairobi, Kenya, the crew concentrated on 16-year-old Felix, who sells ears of corn to help him stay in school. He lives in the Mathari Valley, one of the largest slums in Africa, and is from the Luo ethnic group. President Obama is also a Luo.

"These people, caught up in this massive migration from countryside to city, tell their own stories,” said Volkers. “They are engaging, wonderful people who are caught up in some pretty dire circumstances. Through their stories, we get the big story.

"Is the story depressing? Not really," said Volkers. "Is it a wake-up call? Absolutely. Will you be surprised by what you see? Absolutely."

Volkers, of Orange City, teaches digital media production at Dordt, but served as a missionary in an African village for seven years and has also been a photojournalist and documentary filmmaker for Christian Reformed World Missions and other organizations, winning numerous national and international awards. The Fourth World has won over 30 awards, including the Award of Merit at the Lucerne International Film Festival, the Best Documentary Feature at the Third World Indie Film Fest, and Telly Awards in Cinematography and Documentary.

The Fourth World is currently showing on television in Ireland, Turkey, Greece, other European countries, and across the Middle East. It's for sale via iTunes, Amazon and Hulu. Volkers and company are working on deals in Australia and New Zealand. "We keep pushing to get the story told in new markets. The Fourth World is a hidden world and we want to expose it for what it is," he said.

The free film showing is the 2013 version of the OrangeRind Film Festival, which began three years ago by the Orange City Arts Council and Vaughn Donahue, a 2008 Northwestern College alumnus. This year's OrangeRind includes the screening of The Fourth World, plus documentary film workshops taught by Volkers.

Sponsors are the Orange City Arts Council, Sioux Center Rec and Arts Council, and Northwestern College. Inclement weather location is Northwestern's DeWitt Theatre. Bring lawn chairs or blankets.

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