Patongo Primary School students practice a traditional dance preparing for Uganda’s national music and dance competition.
At National Geographic Nix Fine met her future husband, who graduated from Connecticut College in 1996. Sean Fine had the filmmaking gene, passed down from his parents, acclaimed documentary filmmakers Paul and Holly Fine.
Sean and Andrea Nix Fine founded Fine Films in 2003, working as co-directors. In 2005 they were contacted by Susan MacLaury and Albie Hecht (former head of Spike TV, the cable network), a husband-and-wife team who founded Shine Global, a foundation dedicated to producing films that combat the abuse and exploitation of children.
Hecht knew the Fines through True Dads, a television special Sean Fine directed. MacLaury and Hecht had traveled to Uganda and Kenya with friends who run a relief organization there. By pure happenstance, the couple learned of the music competition in Uganda. “The truth was that every child in the war zone had a story to tell,” MacLaury said. “This [competition] gave us a vehicle.”
“[As a filmmaker], my favorite thing is that, in a way, you go to school the rest of your life.”
Andrea Nix Fine ’91
They asked whether Fine Films wanted to do the film. The answer was yes—but then the Fines looked into the situation in northern Uganda more closely. They learned that just traveling to the area was very dangerous. They considered their young son and made a decision. “Having two parents [in northern Uganda] with a child at home is just not responsible,” Nix Fine said. “So, for the first time, we decided to split up.”