April 08, 2010

MFA student’s documentary debuts Sunday

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- An exhibit and weekend film presentation at Southern Illinois University Carbondale tell the story of a civil war, families it shattered and one woman’s courageous efforts to save hundreds of children.

“Rainbow Town” is the graduate thesis film by Lauren Selmon Roberts, a master of fine arts graduate student from Norman, Okla. The film debuts in the Student Center auditorium at 6 p.m., Sunday, April 11. There is no admission charge, and the public is welcome.

The documentary tells the true story of Rainbow Town, an orphanage near Gbarnga, Liberia. Roberts said civil war took its toll on Liberia but a brave woman, “Ma” Feeta, soon found herself caring for a group of about 250 children who, fending for themselves, otherwise might have died. Through the movie, discover how Feeta and the children came together and how in 1989 “Rainbow Town” was born and gave a sense of normalcy to these children. After more than a decade of war, many of the children reunited with parents but more than 85 remain with Feeta, according to Roberts.

The Student Programming Council is sponsoring a reception at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Art Alley, located on the second floor of the Student Center. Those attending will be able to view paintings created by many of the Liberian children. The children’s artwork will remain on display through April 22.