Kenya's post-election violence was characterized by Western media as "another African ethnic cleansing" and as a "tribal conflict," but to do so dismisses a deeper human story. A Chance for Peace gives Kenyan's the opportunity to tell their side of the story, honoring those risking their lives to promote peace of all kinds - from a nurse-turned-medical marvel, to graffiti artists, and Maasai education pioneers. When it seems like it would be enough to accept peace as the absence of violence, the men, women, and children in this film redefine the traditionally accepted, narrowly defined notions of Kenyans and Africans in general, creating hope by will and faith alone.
When your past is wrought with inequality and when your present is threatened, what will you do to create a better future for you and your community? A Chance for Peace tackles this question head-on.
The story of ACFP
Director Tyler Batson volunteered in Kenya in 2007. During this time he had the opportunity to campaign with a Member of Parliament candidate in Maasailand. Along with Emmanuel Leina and his many Maasai warrior supporters, Tyler walked to all corners of the district learning about the Kenyan political climate, basic needs unmet by the government, and most importantly, he learned about peace; the sort of peace that arises from a spirit of resilience, most powerfully and thoughtfully exemplified by the Kenyan people.
Three months after Tyler returned to California, on December 27th, 2008, disaster struck. Emmanuel, his family, and all the other friends Tyler had met and marched with were now targets in Kenya's post-election violence. But the American news media was more intent on covering a 5-panel discussion on Britney Spears' mental health. Resorting the Facebook and text messaging, Tyler got word from the ground: things were not good.
Determined to tell the Kenyan story, Tyler, completely inexperience in film making, became a documentary filmmaker with one mission: Shed light on the peace he knew Kenyans sought.
After raising close to $10,000, selling his car, and traveling to Kenya with a cameraman (Frank Kraljic), Tyler found himself in Kenya in over his head. The stories that were revealed during the film - from the slums of Nairobi to the flatlands of Transmara - were those of death, sacrifice, trauma, but also joy, hope, and even happiness. One month later, Tyler returned to California only to find the story his sought to merely document became his life.
One week back in the US, Tyler's apartment building was set ablaze in an act of arson. He was homeless, car-less, without income, and almost without hope. But with the support of friends and family and the resilient spirits of his Kenyan friends guiding one step in front of the other, Tyler overcame his plight and created his own chance for peace.
This film is a celebration of life. Five years in the making and a lifetime brought into sharp focus, this is A Chance for Peace.