Synopsis by Mark Deming
In the African nation of Malawi, disease, poverty and famine have taken a horrible toll, especially on young people -- in a country of twelve million people, one million are orphaned children. In 2006, pop singer Madonna began studying the crisis in Malawi, and decided to use her wealth and celebrity to help; she helped finance the construction of a home for orphans, founded a relief organization called the Raising Malawi Orphan Care Initiative, and as a personal example she and her husband adopted a boy from Malawi, David Banda Mwale, whose mother had died. Now Madonna has written and produced I Am Because We Are, a documentary about Malawi that attempts to demonstrate at the need for action by profiling eight children growing up without parents; these youngsters long for a better life and strive to remain optimistic about the future despite the long odds fate has set against them. I Am Because We Are also features interviews with a number of people working to alleviate the ongoing tragedy in Malawi, including Bill Clinton, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs, and leaders of a number of leading relief and charitable organizations. I Am Because We Are received its North American premiere at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival.