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SFTV Alums Make Documentary on AIDS in Tanzania

As a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Peter Glenn ’02, a graduate of Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television, served as the director of the video production program at St. Augustine University in Tanzania. After his two-year commitment, Glenn thought his time in Tanzania was at an end, but he was presented with an opportunity for another project.

Glenn befriended Tanzanian sociologist and professor Wilhelmina Lyimo-Saria, known to most as Mama Lyimo, who was studying why the AIDS epidemic continued to plague the Tanzanian people. Lyimo-Saria called Glenn to task and asked him to make a documentary about her journey.

“So little credit is given to the actual African perspective on AIDS,” Glenn said. “We so often see AIDS through the lens of the savior figure from the West who comes to start orphanages and save children from AIDS … but with her strong-willed approach that combines humor with compassion, Mama Lyimo was the perfect protagonist for this film.”

Glenn enlisted the help of his fellow alumni to produce the documentary, which is named "Into The Light." In April 2005 he teamed up with his brother Tim Glenn ’05, who helped him gather the initial funding for the project. In addition, Joseph Szopa ’04 and Jessica Sachs ’05 became the film’s producers, and Tangier Clarke ‘02 finished all of the graphics and animation. Glenn also credits Peter Heller and Kathleen McInnis of the LMU Film Extension Office and Ted Kroeber '99 for their guidance.

“I think the most amazing part of working with LMU alums was that we all made the film essentially as volunteers working 60 to 80 hours for weeks at a time,” Glenn said. “But there was never a lack of passion or commitment to the project. It's hard to complain about how tough work is when you just spent the day listening to a homeless AIDS orphan talk about how she lost her mom and how she's struggling to go to school and feed her siblings.”

Glenn explained that LMU formed his conscious as a filmmaker, noting that Sue Scheibler, associate professor of film and television studies, and Howard Lavick, associate professor of film and television production, exposed him to many films that deal with social issues. The director also minored in theology where professors such as Michael Horan and Father Tom Rausch challenged him to imagine Gospel values at work in today's world.

He added, “I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the Society of Jesus for teaching me how to be a person for others.”

"Into the Light" had its Tanzanian premiere in July at the Zanzibar International Film Festival, and the documentary won the Ousmane Sembene Films for Development Award.

To view a trailer and find out more about the film, please visit: www.IntoTheLightFilm.com