A Lot Like You (educational)

  • Directed by: Eliaichi Kimaro
  • Produced by: Eric Frith, Thomas Kenney, Pete Droge

    Educational Version includes: 
        -Disk 1: 80:10 min (Feature Length Version)
        -Disk 2: 52:45min (Educational version) 
        -Audio commentary with Director, Editor, Composer, and Cinematographer
        -Deleted scenes
        -Music Video for the title track "A Lot Like You"
        -Conversation with Director Eliachi

    Released: 2013 
    Running Time: 80:10min and 52:45min
    English KiSwahili, KiChagga

    Educational Subjects: African American Studies, Anthropology, Gender Studies, Multicultural Studies, Sociology, South Asian Studies, Women's Studies

    Secondary Subjects: Children Youth & Families, Immigration and Refugee Studies

    Eliaichi Kimaro is a mixed-race, first-generation American with a Tanzanian father and Korean mother. When her parents retire and move back to Tanzania, Kimaro begins a project that examines the intricate fabric of multiracial identity, and grapples with the complex ties that children have to the cultures of their parents. Though Kimaro grew up spending every other summer in Tanzania, it isn't until she is older and in an interracial relationship of her own that she finally grasps the importance of understanding her family's cultural heritage. She and her partner set out to make a documentary about her father's struggle to fit back in with the family and Chagga culture he left behind forty years earlier. But in the process, Kimaro struggles with her own relationship to Tanzania, and learns more about the heritage that she took for granted as a child. As she talks to more family members, she uncovers a cycle of violence that resonates with her work and life in the U.S., inspiring Kimaro to dig deeper and reveal the hidden truths of her own story. And in so doing, she finds her own way to translate her father’s Chagga culture into her own personal legacy.


    • WINNER, Jury Prize for Best Documentary: 30th Annual San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, 2012
    • WINNER, Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary: 35th Annual Asian Americana International Film Festival (New York), 2012
    • WINNER, Best Documentary: Female Eye Film Festival (Toronto), 2012
    • WINNER, Public Award for the Best Film Directed By A Woman of Color: African Diaspora International Film Festival (New York), 2011
    • WINNER, Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature: Montreal International Black Film Festival, 2011
    • TOP TEN, Audience Choice Award: Seattle International Film Festival, 2011

     Quotes/ Reviews:

    "A LOT LIKE YOU manages to tell a universal story through its specificity without being limited to an individual experience as can often happen in stories of memoir and self-discovery." -Jennifer Dean, Graduate of the CUNY Graduate Center MALS program with thesis on female filmmakers

    "A LOT LIKE YOU takes us on a personal journey into the most vulnerable corners of a family history spanning generations and continents. 
    This layered documentary starts with a familiar exploration of mixed-race identity as the narrator searches for her roots, but brings the discussion to surprising levels of personal and political self-awareness. Fresh and inspired, tender and uncommonly smart, A LOT LIKE YOU triumphs as an exemplary work of first-person documentary for the 21st century."
            - Jury Statement, Best Documentary Award 2012 San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival

    A Lot Like You brings to life the complicated, messy, beautiful, and liberatory process of addressing harm and seeking healing within a family context…
            -Wendy Elisheva Somerson, Tikkun Magazine

    “A Lot Like You” has taken something personal, the story of her mixed-race heritage, and made it feel universal, and she has taken something universal, a yearning we all have to fully understand where we came from and what we’re made of, and made it feel intensely personal…
    …The movie, she says, is “an invitation to start questioning and looking at some of those hidden truths and how those truths shape the cultures that we pass down to our kids.”
            -Tyrone Beasley, Seattle Times

    By moving toward, rather than away from, the painful aspects of [gender violence in] her family history, Kimaro breaks the family silence that’s become complicit in its trauma. And by documenting this sensitive and complex process of truth-seeking within her family, Kimaro provides a model for all of us to confront past violence in order to envision healthier futures.
        - Bitch Magazine, Spring 2012 Issue

    A Lot Like You raised so many important questions and provided such critical insight into how interconnected our experiences of race, class, gender, trauma and sexuality can be in forming our cultural identity. I immediately wanted to figure out a way for my graduate social work students to engage with this powerful film.
             -Nancy Shore, Assoc. Professor Social Work University of New England

    Eli shared her truth with us so authentically that I know she inspired students in the audience to boldly stand behind their own truth. Her presentation, delivered thoughtfully and lovingly, shed a light on cultural identity and gender violence. Eli is a master story-teller who has found a unique way to share her important story. We were all enriched by our short time with her. Thank you for the gift of you!
            -Joann Bautti, Assistant Director, Women’s Center Old Dominion University

    Eli’s film, her experience, and its relevance to our students, was the highlight of our leadership conference, judging by the students lined up to talk to her afterwards. She unpacks culture and personal narrative, with all their complexity, in a most respectful, yet approachable and humanizing way. The lessons she shared about her own life’s journey and making A Lot Like You served as inspiration for students’ who are striving to unfold their own stories in ways that matter.
         -Pete Erschen, Assistant Director, Student Activities & Multicultural Interests Pacific University

    Thank you so much for generously making the time to share your film with our eighth graders. All of us appreciated the opportunity to learn from your experience–both of making the film and your own personal journey. While we would have loved to engage with you further about the many issues you raised, I’m confident the discussion will continue in your absence….You left us with the perfect message as we embark on our own memoir unit: The more personal the story, the more universal it is. Thank you for that…
            - Eva McGough, Language Arts Teacher Lake Washington Girls Middle

    A Lot Like You addresses issues of ethnicity, gender, violence, the nuclear family, cultural attitudes and race in a way that is complex and engrossing. The movie is also an aesthetic delight. Its ability to weave different stories and concepts within a very personal framework suggests an artistic creativity I have rarely seen in my 19 years of teaching film. I would highly recommend screening the full 80 minute feature as its pacing, editing, dialogue, and music allow for a full understanding of the rich array of concepts presented by this wonderful director. Our campus was rewarded by our viewing of this film and Eliaichi made the experience transcendent with her commentary.         
    - Jim Price, Prof. of Art, History & Culture Lewis & Clark College

    My first reaction is that it’s very compelling material, a really emblematic postcolonial, post-globalization, and postmodern story that is timely in each of these ways. I particularly liked the way in which A Lot Like You personalizes the emergent tension between cultural relativist or postcolonial sensibilities on the one hand and the notion of universal human rights on the other. This is one of the defining questions of our time: how do we embrace/embody the values of the various declarations on human rights without re-engaging in modernist or colonial projects? It’s a fraught problem for a time of global cultural diffusion and awareness.
            - Aron Hsiao, Managing Editor International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society

    A LOT LIKE YOU is "...rooted in consciousness... Both the shortened educational version and the slightly longer feature film provide numerous insights applicable to numerous disciplines."         
    - Educational Media Reviews Online

    Eliaichi Kimaro