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Posted on May 13, 2019

Grigg wins award for film

Quincy native Luke Grigg, a filmmaker based in Los Angeles, won a Webby, the most prestigious award given to Internet content creators, in late April.
“It’s really such an honor,” he said. “Quincy has been such a surprise in the film world: Whether it’s from Colleen Atwood winning an Oscar for costume design in (the musical) ‘Chicago’ or any of her other accolades, or Cole Webley shooting a Super Bowl commercial, and now to have something I created be recognized at that sort of level.”
Grigg, a 2011 QHS graduate, won the award in the Public Service and Activism category for his documentary “Our Children – Twana Twitu.” The film describes the plight of women in villages of Kenya called Migwani and Mwingi, who are raising children whose parents have died of HIV/AIDS.
Grigg has been working with a nonprofit called With My Own Two Hands, which does work in Kenya, developing water projects in that African nation. In 2018, the nonprofit shared the story of elderly women taking care of these children, many of whom have had the disease from birth.


“It’s a story that just hit close to home,” said Grigg, whose grandmother is from Morocco. The focus of the film is on these women and their perseverance. Some of these women are raising their grandchildren, but others are raising children who are not related, sometimes feeding children while barely feeding themselves at all, he said.
“They were just people with really big hearts,” Grigg said, “to take care of children whom society was just turning away.”
Despite the poverty and health issues, Grigg said he encountered people who lead happy lives, learning to be farmers and learning to overcome obstacles.
Nevertheless, the children face the stigma of having such serious health issues and the problem of taking medication that works well only in a well-nourished body. This in a place where sometimes children survive on one or two mangoes a day, or a bowl of cornmeal.
“That was the hardest thing,” he said. “Realizing that people are dying of AIDS, and not because they don’t have the medication over there, but because they are not properly nourished and their bodies just won’t handle their medications properly.”
Hospitals do what they can in educating people, but large sections of the population choose to stay home, or not emphasize education among their children, preferring instead to raise them to work the fields alongside adults.
Grigg spoke to the locals using the nonprofit’s African Program director, Joel Misango, as translator from English to Kamba and back.
The credit for whatever success these women achieve belongs exclusively to them, Grigg said, not to the filmmaker or the nonprofit.
“This isn’t a story that we even deserve to be telling,” he said. “This is a story that these women have written all on their own and this film is just about allowing people to see that.”
To see this film of about 20 minutes, go to www.circle3productions.com.
“I’m just so thankful to Quincy in general,” Grigg said. “None of the stuff that I could have done in my life could happen without growing up in our community.”

Luke Grigg chats with Ngonza, one of the women in Grigg’s award-winning film. Ngonza, who says she is more than 100 years old, was one of the first in her community to raise children left orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Photo by Circle3Productions

By Sebastian Moraga, sports@4n5.ecc.myftpupload.com