Congo Documentary Screening

Left to right: Brady Holcomb, Christopher Cordasco, and Cole Thrift went to the Democratic Republic of Congo during spring break to film a documentary about the plight of women who are victims of sexual aggression. (Courtesy photo, Virginia Gazette / April 3, 2014)

JAMES CITY — A documentary drawing attention to women who are victims of sexual assault in the city of Bukavu, in the African nation of Congo, will screen Wednesday at Williamsburg Community Chapel at 7 p.m.

"Where Are They Walking?" is a 30-minute film conceived, shot and edited by three teens who are youth group members at Williamsburg Community Chapel and rising seniors at Jamestown High School: Brady Holcomb, Chris Cordasco and Cole Thrift. Their weeklong trip to Congo in April was followed by countless hours of logging footage, editing and fine-tuning leading up to Wednesday's screening.

After a sneak preview for friends, Holcomb said, "One of the comments we got was, 'I felt like I was actually in Congo.' That was the goal we had going in — give people a free flight to Congo to immerse them in the story. Hearing them connect with the film is really something."

Connected to the documentary is a campaign to raise $50,000 to go towards the building of a community center and shelter for abused women and their families in Bukavu. Through Background Mission Partners, where Holcomb's father, Tim, works as a missionary, the donations the three teen filmmakers collect will be matched in part by church groups in Congo.

"Hopefully, this will inspire the people who watch it to donate," Cordasco said.

Along the way, Holcomb, Thrift and Cordasco had help from some friends: Isaac F. Davis, a tech-savvy student at Williamsburg Christian Academy, who contributed his animation skills; Tim Felbinger, a fellow youth group member and Jamestown student, and Aaron Sprung, a former youth group leader at the Chapel, who helped with audio engineering; and a translator and several voiceover actors, including a professional, Roman Alis.

"Before we left for Congo, $50,000 and a 30-minute documentary sounded like something we'd never be able to accomplish," Thrift said. Now that they've got the documentary done, he said, "The most incredible thing for me is to see that this goal can be reached even though we're only 17-year-olds learning as we go."

More — Visit the website for "Where Are They Walking?" at http://www.wherearetheywalking.com for information on the screening and how to donate. Watch the trailer at http://vimeo.com/93090172.

Sampson can be reached at 757-345-2345.