The First Grader (The First Grader)
Closing Night Gala
The inspirational story of an 84-year-old former Mau Mau rebel in a Kenyan village who tries to enroll in a local school and learn to read, this powerful film is a deep and rich exploration of a man's life-long fight for dignity and freedom. The film presents one man's intensely personal quest to receive an education, but it is also a portrait of a generation that transformed the face of colonial Africa by fighting for freedom. The use of flashback allows the audience to see the extraordinary hardships this man faced in his youth as an anti-colonial soldier, which is juxtaposed brilliantly with his struggle to attend school in his old age. The powerful sentiment of director Justin Chadwick's film does not simply lie in the fact that he goes back to school - it is in his dignity. Featuring outstanding performances by Oliver Litondo and Naomie Harris, "The First Grader" reminds audiences of the resilient nature of the human spirit.
About the Directors
Born in Salford, England, Chadwick graduated from Leicester College of the Performing Arts. He is an award-winning theatre, television and film director. Chadwick's directorial debut, the 1993 TV movie "Family Style" starring Ewan McGregor, was followed by episodes of "Bleak House" and the feature "The Other Boleyn Girl." "The First Grader" is his second feature.
- Justin Chadwick
- Ann Peacock
- David M. Thompson, Sam Feuer, Richard Harding
- Paul Knight
- Production Designer
- Vittoria Sogno
- Executive Producer
- Joe Oppenheimer, Norman Merry, Anant Singh, Helena Spring
- Naomie Harris, Oliver Musila Litondo