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Ebersol brothers present film

Becca Saunders | Thursday, February 10, 2005

When given a break from school most students choose to sleep or play video games. Notre Dame senior Charlie Ebersol decided to go to South Africa to edit and produce a film about a political issue of that area. The film, called “Ithuteng,” which means “never stop learning,” focuses on the lives of three South African students that attend a school founded by a woman called Mama Jackie in 1997.In what was called “a post-apartheid miracle,” with Nelson Mandela’s aid, the eccentric Mama Jackie began the Ithuteng Trust in Soweto, South Africa. According to Ebersol, the school was developed in the wake of “an unparalleled rise in crime, drug trafficking, and rape among the country’s youth.” Mama Jackie has utilized “shockingly unique educational processes and the opportunity for a better life to motivate 3,500 thirteen to twenty-seven-year-old rape victims, drug addicts and criminals,” according to the “Ithuteng” press release. The film is based on three first-person narrated stories told by the three main characters of the film. Fourteen-year-old Dineo is an orphaned rape victim that is new to Mama Jackie’s school. The second subject is a 22-year-old man named Lebo. He was one of Mama Jackie’s original six students and is a rape victim infected with HIV/AIDS. Victor, a 26-year-old is a reformed criminal and the third interview. He helps Mama Jackie run the school with his “infectious charisma.” Testimonials from these three men begin and set the tone of the emotional and serious film.After introductions of the three men the film focuses on, “Ithuteng” follows the students on a “tumultuous journey from the school to Johannesburg’s maximum-security prison, ‘Sun City’ to a wilderness camp in Kwazaulu-Natal hinterland,” Ebersol said. First-time director and 16-year-old William Ebersol directed “Ithutheng”. Older brother Charlie Ebersol served as producer and editor, and friend Kip Kroger helped with various aspects of the film. Ebersol explains that beyond the documentary formant, the film also features a “unique format for dramatizations, in which the student, whose story is being told, directs a reenactment of the trauma from his or her own life.” Ebersol, who finished classes at Notre Dame in December, was a large part of student government during his time at Notre Dame. He ran for student body president twice, losing by narrow margins in 2003 and 2004. As manager of the Student Union Board for the 2003-04 term, Ebersol was an influential voice in the new and current student government structure. The Ebersol family has recently been in the media spotlight after a tragic plane crash in which Ebersol’s younger brother Teddy died. Charlie Ebersol is credited with pulling his NBC sports executive father Dick Ebersol from the plane wreckage and thus saving his life.The screening will take place in the Browning Family Cinema in the DeBartolo Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday 4 p.m. The 75-minute film is open to the Notre Dame community and will be complimented by comments by Charlie Ebersol. With a unique vision into the situation of South Africa, “Ithuteng” is what is called by Ebersol, “a story of hope, love and redemption through the power of education and one woman’s vision.” Tickets are free for the Notre Dame community and can be picked up at the DeBartolo Box Office.