Films / I Am Eleven
Australia | Documentary Feature | 2011 | 94 min | Website
Director: Genevieve Bailey
Awards: Winner Best Documentary-IF Awards, Winner Audience Award-Melbourne International Film Festival, Winner Outstanding Documentary-Newport Beach Festival
Film source: Proud Mother Pictures
Australian Filmmaker Genevieve Bailey grew up in Melbourne and her love of making movies started at age 8. Since then Genevieve has produced over 40 short films, documentaries, and music videos. Her films have screened internationally at festivals and have picked up over 25 awards to date. I Am Eleven is her first feature documentary. It took her over seven years to make.
Eleven year olds are at a magical age—no longer children, not yet teens. This documentary focuses on eleven year olds from 15 countries, each speaking directly to the camera about their thoughts on universal issues such as love, war, global warming, music, terrorism, culture, family, happiness, religion and the future. Reminiscent of Michael Apted’s 7 Up series, this portrait captures the essence of the world’s children at a pivotal moment in their lives and in the future of the world.
The kids proudly show off their rooms and their surroundings. Their living conditions range from Third-World poverty to comfortable urban settings. Other than the fact that they are all eleven, there are no other direct associations between the children featured.
When asked why she made this film, the filmmaker responded, “It was around 2004 and I’d been through a difficult time. My dad passed away and I’d been in a serious car accident six months prior, and I was depressed. I was working in a newsroom at the Herald Sun as an editorial assistant, shooting news videos and just realizing how much bad stuff there was going on in the world. I was feeling really flat, and I guess I wanted to make something that would make me happy. At its simplest, what I really wanted to do was to make audiences and me happy, and that’s why I set out to make I Am Eleven.”
The project was intended to be more than just a film, and inspired by the children she met making I am Eleven, Genevieve established the Darlingheart Foundation, which works to empower and inspire women and children from disadvantaged communities. -C.C.