We need your help to finish our movie
After more than six years of hard work, we are now finished shooting our impact documentary “Green Rebels” (primarily shot in Israel, Rwanda, and Burundi). You can now help us raise the funding we need for the many weeks of editing and other post-production (like adding music, sound mixing, and working with our celebrity narrator) – to finish our movie, and bring it into the world! We plan to premiere our documentary globally in March, 2024.
We believe that especially now – with the terrible war in the Middle East, that “Green Rebels” can be an inspiring and positive Israel story – about the great efforts of an Israeli company to help make a better world.
Can an ambitious American-Israeli guy living in Jerusalem successfully integrate his dual passions for tikkun olam (Hebrew: “healing the world”), and for risky, business chutzpah – to bring solar-generated electricity to millions in Africa? How does he work with his many African partners – and the power brokers of his world, including assorted African ex-dictators – without losing his soul?
“Green Rebels – Bringing Solar Energy to Africa, the Adventures of Kaptain Sunshine
and his Partners” follows the visionary struggles of Yossi Abramowitz, AKA “Kaptain Sunshine,” and his African partners (with his Burundian staff member, Patrick Nzitunga, above), to provide real, on the ground solutions to both global climate change, and to inequality in Africa.
Yossi and his family immigrated to Israel from Boston in 2006, and soon after, Arava Power, his first Israeli solar energy company, inked the first deal to sell solar-generated electricity to Israel’s electric grid. His vision? For Israel to be a “sustainable Light unto the Nations.” Kaptain Sunshine had arrived.
A few years later, his company finished the first commercial scale solar field in sub-Saharan Africa (in Rwanda) – it now supplies 6% of the nation’s energy needs. Touchingly, it is situated in Agahozo Youth Village (which benefits from the sale of electricity), where several hundred orphans of Rwanda’s own genocidal war have studied and lived (see the rough cut of our Rwanda “chapter” at bottom of this page – we were thrilled to travel there to shoot for an amazing week, in February, 2020).
Abramowitz’s African partners include Patrick Nzitunga, his Burundian staff member (who lives much of the year in Israel, with his Israeli wife); and Zambian Bishop Scott Mwanza (who stayed with Abramowitz in his first visit to the Holy Land). Here is a short scene with Bishop Mwanza: https://youtu.be/UJ-HmnfSvKk
How do Abramowitz and his partners overcome obstacles of government corruption, violence, terrorism, and entrenched energy interests – to help bring green electricity to more of Africa’s 600 million people without electricity, and to replace the highly polluting gas and coal electric plants planned by the greedy multinational petro interests? How are his cross-cultural bridges key to their successes?
We shot for several weeks throughout Burundi (in a village without electricity, above) – documenting Abramowitz’s many years of struggle to finally complete his second African solar field there.
Our story paints a painful but needed picture of the “energy poverty” in many African countries – 90% of homes have no electricity – so all cooking and lighting comes from burning wood or charcoal in the home. Such “indoor air pollution” in Burundi causes more than 10,000 deaths (mostly children) every year. And there may be no forests left in Burundi by 2040, because of the huge numbers of trees cut down yearly. Abramowitz’s work, and our movie, can be a powerful model for a major way to fight climate change globally.
Golda Meir visited five African countries, in 1958, and she later wrote: “Independence had come to us, as it was coming to Africa, not served up on a silver platter, but after years of struggle.” And Abramowitz regularly quotes Ben Gurion, “The largest source of energy in our world, a source so unused by man – is the sun.” He sees himself on their path, a progressive win-win Zionism.
At home in Israel, Abramowitz and his wife’s children include two adopted Ethiopian sons. An additional supporting character will be his wife, Rabbi Susan Silverman – “Green Rebel” director Stein documented her well-known struggle for women to be able to pray at the Western Wall).
Africa boasts 11 out of the 20 fastest-growing economies on the planet, has 700 million cell phones, and its billion-plus population will double by 2050. With his characteristic optimism, Abramowitz asks our camera, “Can the African continent one day be powered exclusively by renewable energy?”
Help us reach our many audiences around the world, including:
- Jewish and Christian audiences, young and old, who will respond to the many Jewish aspects of Abramowitz’s activities and thinking, and the positive story of an incredibly innovative Israeli company.
- Audiences interested in dramatic, intimate stories about addressing climate change and the development of green energy systems – especially a deep, human story from the underdeveloped world – a world that North Americans know very little about.
- Audiences specifically interested in Africa – this includes African-Americans, an underserved community.
Our ultimate goal – a powerful impact film
In early 2024, we will also initiate our impact campaign: we will not only show “Green Rebels” in theaters worldwide and on streaming services like Netflix, but also bring it directly to hundreds of houses of worship, non-profits, corporations, green conferences, universities, and elsewhere. These “impact screening events”, all including discussions – are designed to educate and inspire about Jewish social change and fighting the climate crisis. We are also creating an engaging Discussion Guide, adaptable for anything from a single event, to an in-depth workshop of several sessions. It will be a tool to use our impact events to train community and campus leaders, who will be able to tailor their impact events to their own specific communities and community goals.
“Green Rebels” invites maximum participation and partnerships
Please contact us with any questions (including possibly becoming an investor, or if you or your organization are interested in hosting a future impact screening event), email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
And here is a rough cut of our entire Rwanda “chapter”, finished recently:
And please read director Harvey Stein’s recent Times of Israel blog post here:
Kaptain Sunshine, Builder of Almost Impossible Bridges
And Yosef Abramowitz’s recent article: Of Marshmallows and Covenant: The Uphill Battle in Africa to be a Renewable Light Unto the Nations
It takes a village to make an indie film! It takes a global village to turn the course on climate change. Thanks for adding your energy to our pot!
“Green Rebels” co-sponsored by Shufu Shufu and Melitz