ABOUT THE DOC
Naretoi - which means "women helping women" in Maasai - follows a group of Maasai and American women on a unique self supported expedition to the summit of Mt. Kenya, 16,355 ft.
The Maasai tribe still live as pastoralists in a deeply traditional, patriarchal, and polygamous culture. Most Maasai women have never left their “boma” or village and few make any decisions without male permission - their focus is on survival. Doing anything solely for themselves is an intangible luxury not afforded to women in Maasai culture, especially something like climbing a mountain without any involvement or assistance by men.
This expedition is unique in how the women overcome cultural and language barriers to collectively conquer a large mountain. The mountain symbolizes the challenges that we all face as women fighting an uphill battle to gain equality in our lives. This experience is an opportunity to empower each other and focus on self introspection and discovery.
From putting on pants, hiking boots, being in a climate below 65 degrees for the first time, to carrying a heavy backpacking backpack for seven days - every element of climbing the mountain self supported is completely foreign to Maasai women. The challenges of summiting a high altitude mountain are difficult for even the female professionals in the outdoor industry. Naretoi captures this entire experience from start to finish and highlights it as an inspirational opportunity for women to empower each other and to focus on self introspection and self discovery.
The broader intent of this short documentary film is to raise awareness and funds for Maasai girls to complete the mountaineering expedition, which is closely related to them obtaining sponsorship to go to school. Education is key to giving women a voice to make choices that could determine whether or not they are circumcised and if they have a say in whom they marry - choices we often take for granted. We currently has over twenty girls sponsored and enrolled in school full time - we are hoping to see that number grow!
Kelsey Doyle is a documentary filmmaker and producer whose work focuses on supporting non-profits and giving them agency by making documentary films about their causes - a marketing strategy non-profit organizations cannot afford. Her work has taken her and her teams from the jungles of Sumatra, savannahs of Maasailand, to the outermost Pacific islands of Micronesia and has been published by Stanford, National Geographic, Oceanic Society, National Science Foundation, UN, Filmmaker, Independent Filmmaker Project, PBS Newshour, Stanford, UCB, NYU, Patagonia, and New York Magazine. She is a proud member of the Board of Directors of Naretoi. Kelsey holds an M.A. in News and Documentary Journalism from New York University and a B.A. in Film and Digital Media from the University of California. She's lived in Buenos Aires, Brooklyn, and London. Currently, she is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sandra Doyle is an producer, editor, and motion graphics designer. After graduating in at the top of her class in Film from UC Berkeley, she has worked with creative agencies designing content for companies such as O’neill to music mega house Major Lazor to piece together their story in compelling and artful ways. Her attention to detail has enabled her to see the many endless possibilities of design aesthetics.
Katie Sugarman is a photographer and wardrobe stylist who has been working in the film production industry since 2007. Katie works on commercial productions and her clients include: Google, Visa, Toyota, and many more. But, her passion is in power of imagery to share the stories of amazing and inspiring people around the world. Katie has a B.A. from Lewis and Clark College where she majored in Photography. Her work focuses on social documentary stories and non profit projects. Her most recent exhibition: Giving Me Life: A Visual Journey of African American Organ and Tissue Transplant Recipients was in partnership with Donor Network West. And she is currently working on a project in partnership with One People One Reef and National Geographic about the importance of traditional storytelling in the remote outer islands of Micronesia. She has been a proud member of the Board of Directors of Naretoi since 2015.
In order to complete this documentary film and tell its full story (so far we have only made the trailer), we need help covering the financial costs of pre-production (researcher, coordinator, permit preparation, vaccinations, mountaineering gear and clothing, etc), production (travel costs, accommodation, camera gear and equipment, film permits, producer, camera operator, etc.), and post production (editor(s), sound mixing, color artist, motion graphic artist, and distributors/platform fees, etc.). We have calculated what the baseline budget would entail and have determined that the amount of $10,000 will cover all of the expenses necessary to make this documentary film a successful piece from start to finish.
As independent documentary filmmakers, we have not received any outside funding or sponsorship and would greatly appreciate any donation. We have the goal of making this documentary a catalyst for the projects to receive more funding, support, and resources to help Maasai women and girls and to continue the project each year. Any support you are able to give is greatly appreciated!
* Each contributor will receive a special perk related to the project. 25% of funds raised will go directly to sponsoring Maasai women! You can also donate via Venmo directly to the filmmaker @doyle_kelsey