Hacking for good: Kickstart a documentary about hackers in Uganda
While the information security community is largely accustomed to the term “hacking” being used to describe criminal computer activity in the mainstream media, every security aficionado knows its true meaning has nothing to do with illegal activity. There are plenty of hackers out there doing immensely positive things.
Hackers For Charity (HFC) is a non-profit that provides food, equipment and computer education to the world’s poorest citizens. Their aim is to teach people IT skills they can use to support themselves and their families.
In 2009, HFC set up a tuition-free computer school and Internet cafe in Uganda, one of Africa’s most disadvantaged nations. They are teaching locals computer skills that allow them to find work and apply for medical and social benefits on the web.
While HFC is admired in hacker circles and has volunteers worldwide, their efforts are not widely-know. But the good news is that a Kickstarter project has been launched to change this by filming a documentary showcasing their work in Uganda.
“The documentary should showcase what the hacking community has helped support for several years, and show that the word ‘hacker’ can have a positive meaning,” told us Glenn Eccard, Board Member, Hackers For Charity.
The documentary will showcase the implications of international humanitarian aid in the non-Western world and illustrate the obstacles and triumphs HFC staff members deal with on a daily basis. The filmmakers will also focus on teachers and a few students, who will be followed in both their student and private lives.
If the Kickstarter project reaches its initial goal, the target runtime for the documentary will be between 30-50 minutes. More funding would allow the crew to spend more time in Uganda and expand the material into a full 80-100 minute feature.
Working on each documentary presents a different set of challenges and filming on location in Uganda will surely turn out to be an exciting location. Jeremy Zerechak, director, producer, and cinematographer, comments: “Typically a documentary crew is much smaller than your traditional narrative or Hollywood crew. I always try to have a minimal footprint in the environment I’m filming in order to preserve the natural state so that my content is real and uninhibited. The goal is a three-person crew, director/cinematographer, producer/coordinator and sound engineer.”
“Finding the balance between the HFC’s story and the contextualization of their operations will keep me very busy. I anticipate shooting large amount of footage, which is really the nature of documentary filmmaking. Uganda is such a beautiful and fascinating region,” Zerechak added.
Don’t forget to visit the “Hackers in Uganda” Kickstarter page and help them make this documentary a reality!