On a war-torn peninsula of the southern Philippines, 13 teenagers accepted a challenge: Become proficient on their culture's traditional musical instruments, and perform on the biggest stage of their lives.
Their story is told in the documentary Rise and Dream, screening on Wednesday, September 18, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
The screening is preceded at 6:15 p.m. by a performance of the Sinag-Tala Dance Troupe, a Kansas City-based, traditional Filipino ensemble. A Q&A session following the movie features Barclay Martin, the Kansas City musician who was the film's musical director; Paul Pearce, the film's executive producer; Ryan Sumicad, one of the film's young stars on his first visit to the U.S., and Bob Hentzen, co-founder and president of the Kansas City, Kansas - based Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, which sponsored the film.
Rise and Dream -- winner of several film festival awards -- shows how people of diverse religious backgrounds work together to create an uplifting concert in a community whose voice is often muffled by the enduring grip of poverty and sectarian violence.
Despite the uncertainties of their daily lives, the student "stars" of the documentary show extraordinary resilience in exploring the music of their ancestors. They defy the weather, incredible economic demands, and even the occasional cranky snake to stage a free concert showcasing their talent.
The documentary is an production of the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, a Catholic lay organization working independent of any diocese or the Vatican to serve the poor in 21 countries.
The event is co-sponsored by the UMKC Women's Center and the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP at kclibrary.org  or call 816.701.3407.