Telling their story could easily have been emotionally exploitative, but instead, director Danielle Bernstein allows the children the chance to tell their story earnestly, in a manner that focuses on their hope for the future. It is both painful to comprehend their existence and yet uplifting to see them voice their determination to give their family a better life.
During the course of the film, we watch the young members of the choir as they marvel at things like clean running water they can access indoors, and rather than hear them dwell on their miserable upbringing, the children choose to voice hope for the future. It is a humbling viewing experience, with the human drama interlaced with their musical performances at just the right times, so the film keeps a positive tone. We also get to hear Nina voice her dream of becoming Uganda’s first female President, and Moses’ dream of becoming a pilot is answered in an unexpected way.
Director of Photography Jason Maris captures the film in a beautiful, unassuming manner. It is so difficult for documentaries to capture key emotional moments without being too intrusive, but you never feel that here, and Maris' efforts on this film should be noted.
Without providing too many spoilers, the film ends with the children returning to Africa and starting a new life at the academy. What could have been a downer of an ending is instead the most uplifting part of the picture, as we watch the children voice their dreams for the future, in a scene which will bring tears to your eyes for all the right reasons.