Exploring our identities one story at a time.
At Adhel Productions our mission is to connect audiences to the deep, rich stories of the African diaspora. Our aim is to diversify the narrative so that voices that were once silenced or ignored will echo through time.
Founder Adhel Arop's award-winning documentary Who Am I tells the story of her journey to overcome intergenerational trauma and connect with her mother, who served as a child soldier in the South Sudanese Civil War.
Adhel Productions is currently developing long form documentaries podcasts to explore the stories of many other women who, like Adhel's mother, survived sectarian violence.
KATIBA BANAT: THE FIRST GIRLS
Adhel Arop was born in Kakuma refugee camp, near the border between Kenya and Sudan. Her family moved to Nairobi when her mother Amel Madut got a job interpreting through the United Nations. This work helped her family obtain immigration status to relocate to Canada.
Branded a “refugee”, Adhel felt disconnected from her roots and her identity while she was growing up. When relatives hinted she should dig deeper into her mother’s background, Adhel embarked on a research project that opened the door to a life-changing, trauma-healing conversation about her mother’s childhood as a soldier in the Sudanese civil war.
Adhel captured this poignant conversation in her award-winning Telus Storyhive documentary Who Am I? Now, Adhel plans to travel across Canada and around the world to speak to the other women of her mother’s regiment of child soldiers, known as Katiba Banat, or the First Girls.
GIRLS WHO FOUGHT WARS
“The skies weep.
My country screams.
I watch in agony.
The eyes of the people I love dearly
Tell stories of sadness.
There are children
Who have become broken adults
And now their children have inherited that hurt.
Trauma becomes Sudan’s greatest legacy.”
~ Adhel Arop
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Amel Madut has kept track of eighty other women who were recruited as children into the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). While many remained in Sudan, several emigrated over the years, and nearly a dozen ended up living in Canada.
Adhel will travel across Canada and around the world to talk to other women who, like her mother, survived brutal childhoods spent fighting for the SPLA. Their stories will be combined with stock footage from SPLA training videos, archival photos, and original footage featuring the beautiful people and landscape of South Sudan.
Although women and girls are prominently featured as casualties of wartime brutality, the stories of women who fight are often overlooked. As a result, we know very little about their lives, their joys and sorrows, their trauma and healing, or the unique experiences and insights they have drawn from fighting on the front lines. Katiba Banat will shine a light into these shadowy corners.
Katiba Banat: the First Girls celebrates the resilience and determination of women who survived horrific violence as children, then went on to create lives filled with hope, security and opportunity for their own children.
WHO AM I?
Adhel's first film tells the story of her search for identity as she reconciles with her mother’s past as a child soldier in South Sudan. We see how war, displacement, and trauma have affected both women’s lives and their relationship with one another, and how their shared cultural identity has paved a path for their new lives in Canada.
- Thu., Aug. 27WerklabAug. 27, 2020, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. PDTWerklabThe evening will start with a screening of 'Who am I', followed by a performance by Adhel. Lastly a conversation lead by Angela Leong, registered Clinical counselor addressing trauma and its relationship to identity & the journey of finding peace through the pain.
Kerri is President of the Islands Celtic Music Festival Society, founder of the BC Folk Song Project and CEO of the Vancouver South Green Party EDA.
Kerri has decades of film-making experience as one of the first female grips in Alberta and one of the first female gaffers in BC.
At Adhel Productions, she combines her production experience with her fundraising and organizing skills to help get projects up and running.
D. Geneva Roberts
As a young girl, D. Geneva tapped into a passion for photography. Her love of the lens is as alive today as it ever was back then.
In her heart, she is a curious photographic entrepreneur, dedicated to discovering and capturing slices of true identity. She shoots the truth, because the camera never lies.
Life, art, history—bringing these moments in time together in one frame is her specialty.
Kate Saint-Martin & Paloma Comas
Kate and Paloma contribute slick communication and social media skills to ensure Adhel's buzzworthy projects get their fair share of buzz.
Their company, Uplift Vancouver, was launched in 2019. Uplift specializes on raising the profile and platform of socially conscious projects.
Kate and Paloma can often be found refining their Yoga skills in a downtown Vancouver studio.
FOUNDER AND CEO
Adhel Arop is a Kenyan born refugee and multidisciplinary artist residing in Vancouver BC. Her work ranges from visual to written art, exploring her identity through different forms of expression.
As a teenager, Adhel was recruited into a modelling career. She embraced this opportunity to increase her visibility and platform, offering a vision of beauty and self-confidence that would resonate with other African girls who might struggle to figure out who they are and where they belong.
Adhel's first documentary project, Who Am I, won a competition for funding from Telus Storyhive in 2019, then went on to garner awards, international press and greater attention to the existence of women who were once girls who fought in wars.
When she is not pushing the boundaries of our collective narrative, Adhel spends her spare time studying renewable energy and developing a business plan to supply sustainable infrastructure supporting women and girls under-served communities of South Sudan.