The 20-minute doc profiles the Hope North Secondary and Vocational School in northern Uganda. The school is a refuge for children caught in the crossfire of Uganda’s civil war, and 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.
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 and musician Michael Rohatyn.
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.
“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.