Brolin Mawejje is the star of the new documentary “Far From Home.” On Monday, Examiner got the chance to talk to him via e-mail and get all of the scoop on this new documentary.
How did this documentary come about?
This documentary came about my sophomore year of Westminster College in 2012. I had been interning at Mass General the previous summer and the doctors I was working with began asking me about my story. I told them about growing up in Uganda and my snowboarding aspirations and they told me I should write a book one day. I told my brother/best friend, Phil Hessler, what the doctors had said and he said let’s not write a book let’s make a film. From there we reached out to a filmmaking student we knew named Galen Knowles who came on as director with Phil as producer.
The idea started out small but Phil and Galen took it and ran. I never expected it to become what it was but once we started to see the potential we put our hearts into the project. And three years and 400 hours of footage later Far From Home was complete.
At what age did you start snowboarding?
I started out snowboarding for the first time when I was 14 years old. My mother worked all night as a hospice nurse so I was alone after school everyday. I joined an after school program that would take kids skiing and snowboarding. My only friend at the time was really into skiing and snowboarding so he was the one who pushed me to try it.
How are you keeping up getting ready for medical school and snowboarding at the same time?
Over the three year period of making the documentary it was pretty tough. We were constantly fundraising to continue production on the doc and at the same time still in school and trying to continue my progression on the board. There was a lot of overlap between the three ongoing tasks but our family, friends, and college, even the doctors at Mass General, were so supportive of all three areas that we were able to figure it out. I just finished my undergrad degree this year and am now in the process of applying to med school. I am also re-taking the MCAT to improve my score. So I’m basically riding all day at Park City, then studying at night. I plan to go back to school after the Olympics but right now snowboarding is my main focus.
When are you trying out for the Olympics?
So trying out for the Olympics is an ongoing process. Our first step was negotiating with the Ugandan Government and FIS to form the first Ski Federation so that I can ride in competitions under the Ugandan Flag. That was successfully formed this November, mainly due to the persistence of my brother Phil with following up with the UOC. The Olympic qualifying year is from July 2016 – January 2018, in that time I have to meet three criteria:
– 100 FIS Points
– Top 30 finish in a world cup
– Top 32 in FIS rankings
So I’ve got a lot of work to do. This year I’m focusing on my progression and qualifying for the first world cup in August.
Would you be willing to do another documentary about the Olympics if that was to work out for you?
Making Far From Home was definitely a very challenging experience. It was tough to reveal different aspects of my personal life that I had bottled up for a long time. But through the experience I was able to learn a lot and grow as a human. We’ve been chatting about doing a series that would follow me the year up to the Olympics so I know thats on the table. My team has also began working on a script for a potential narrative, we’ll see what happens!
If you want to see “Far From Home,” it is available on Red Bull TV (a digital television network in many places including the following. It is on Red Bull TV on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone applications and is also a pre-installed channel on Apple TV and Samsung Smart TVs or a free, downloadable app on Amazon Fire TV, Kindle Fire, Chromecast, Nexus Player, Roku Players, Roku TV models, and Xbox 360.