April 01





Praise for the Film

“Disarmingly bold and breathtaking.” “Emotionally insightful.”
“The film’s florid depiction of Mugeni’s escape arouses all the senses as if survival depended on it, placing one in her shoes as she flees.” 
– Stephen Saito, The Moveable Fest

“Stunning.” “Shows the Depth of Animated Documentaries.”
More Than I Remember is a stunning short animated documentary that chronicles the story of a woman named Mugeni. It shines a light on the humanitarian crisis in southeastern Congo.”
“A beautifully crafted tale that places the real Mugeni as the narrator of her own story.”
“Gorgeously animated… [Mugeni’s] skin tone is dynamic and rich, showcasing the beauty in dark skin that we rarely see from animation.”
“Animation and documentaries go hand-in-hand, and this is a testament to the dynamic storytelling the medium brings to the genre.” – Kate Sánchez, But Why Tho Podcast?SYNOPSIS

One night at her home in southeastern Congo, 14-year-old Mugeni awakes to the sounds of bombs. As her family scatters to the surrounding forests to save themselves, Mugeni finds herself completely alone. From there, she sets out on a remarkable solo journey across the globe, determined to reunite with her lost loved ones and lift up the Banyamulenge people. Despite unimaginable obstacles, Mugeni’s story is ultimately a portrait of hope, love, and family bonds.

Directed and produced by Amy Bench, produced by Carolyn Merriman, animation director Maya Edelman, and executive producers Eloise DeJoria and Constance Dykhuizen.


Mugeni’s story brings much-needed attention to the denial of citizenship and humanitarian crisis happening in southeastern Congo where militia attacks on the Banyamulenge, a persecuted minority, have led to the destruction of hundreds of villages and the displacement of over 200,000 people. As a result of this genocide, many have ended up as refugees in neighboring countries or scattered across the globe. As a safe and welcoming sanctuary for persecuted people, the United States has, at times, welcomed and resettled, on humanitarian grounds, unaccompanied minors like Mugeni. This life-saving program was nearly eliminated in 2018, leaving thousands like Mugeni with fewer places to turn to for help.

Unaccompanied refugee children are the most vulnerable of the vulnerable, and for over forty years the United States, working with the United Nations, has provided a pathway for a small yet critical number of this population. The previous administration sought to take that away. Stories such as Mugeni’s highlight the need to provide safe spaces for the children who need it most—and work to expose audiences to the issue, protecting the legacy of the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program (URM).HOT DOCS SCREENINGS (IN-PERSON & VIRTUAL)
Part of the Shorts Program: Persister Shorts: Mother’s Day

A selection of short documentaries features stories of women speaking up and being heard.

Saturday, April 30 at 5:15 pm
Varsity 6

Director Amy Bench in-person for Q&A.

Online streaming is available starting on Thursday, April 28 at 9:00 AM. All film streams are geo-blocked to Canada.

https://hotdocs.ca/whats-on/hot-docs-festival/films/2022/more-than-i-rememberABOUT THE ANIMATION

Rich, textured colors and a limitless palette strive to match the breadth of Mugeni’s sensitivity and boldess. Her zest for life is the underlying fabric of the story. The design is grounded in reality while capturing the emotional aspect of being a migrant and refugee. As “home” is a through line in the film, the filmmakers worked with Animation Director Maya Edelman to carefully consider each landscape Mugeni moves through on her journey. The language of this film is one where these large landscapes and the juxtaposition of simplified character animation allow the audience to focus on Mugeni’s very dense recollections of the horrific circumstances by which she fled her home country, and the trials she surmounted along the way. The team’s approach allows the viewer to witness events in a way that does not distract, glorify, or burden the storyteller with brutal imagery, in turn creating a unique level of intimacy that can transcend what’s possible in other visual forms.


Amy Bench – Director / Producer
Amy Bench is a filmmaker and visual artist who is drawn to the immediacy of film and photography to tell stories of community and resilience. Trained as a cinematographer, her observational style highlights small details of the human experience that transcend formal explanation. Her camera work has screened at festivals including Berlin, SXSW, Sundance, The New York Film Festival, and at MOMA/PS1 and in 2016 she was named a “DP on the Rise” by Paste Magazine. She was the cinematographer on Trans in America: Texas Strong, which won an Emmy for Best Original Short Documentary in 2019, and 2 Webby Awards. She is the cinematographer on Mama Bears, a feature-length film that builds on Texas Strong and follows the transformative power of Christian mothers who affirm their LGBTQ children. Amy’s animated documentary A Line Birds Cannot See won Special Jury Recognition at SXSW, and is now available on The New Yorker, where it won the 2020 Ellie Award (video) for excellence in digital magazine journalism. She is the Director of Photography on three features premiering at SXSW in March: Mama Bears (dir Daresha Kyi, Chavela), Lover Beloved (dir Michael Tully, Ping Pong Summer), and Shouting Down Midnight (dir Gretchen Stoeltje).

Carolyn Merriman – Producer 
Carolyn Merriman is the executive producer at the Future of StoryTelling (FoST) and a curator interested in the intersection of art, technology, and storytelling. As a producer she works across media, including documentary films, animations, apps, and other interactive experiences. She was an associate producer on The Unforeseen, a documentary executive produced by Terrence Malick and Robert Redford and directed by Laura Dunn. She was a producer on A Line Birds Cannot See.

Maya Edelman – Animation Director & Lead Animation Designer
Maya Edelman is an illustrator and animation director who was born in Kiyv, USSR and moved to New York at the age of 13. She studied animation and film at Pratt Institute and went on to create a body of work spanning a variety of themes and media, including animation for documentaries, and short films, and has received an EMMY award for her work on Broad City.  She is currently working as a visual development artist on a feature film in production at Netflix. She was the animator of Sara Kiener’s “The Shawl,” which premiered at Sundance in 2020. Her great loves include film, getting lost in her home city, and cats. Maya came to the US as a refugee when she was 13, and is familiar with the disorientation of being in a new place without the language it takes to fully express oneself. She feels deeply that everyone has a right to a safe and peaceful existence, no matter where they happened to be born. In her personal work Maya explores themes related to water, borders between physical spaces, sleep and wakefulness, life and death.

Sebastián Bisbal – Animator
Sebastián is an animator based in Rancagua, Chile who received his MFA at UT Austin in Film Production. He has a personal interest in stories of displacement due to his own family’s political persecution in Chile.

Samia Khalaf – Animator
Samia is a Lebanese artist who moved to California at the age of 17 to pursue a career in animation at San Jose State University. For the past 11 years, she has worked on projects for Disney TV, mobile games, and virtual reality apps. She is intimately familiar with war and displacement, as her best friend from childhood is a Syrian woman who has been displaced multiple times in her life.

Support for the film was provided by the IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund, Austin Film Society, Still I Rise Fellowship Program, City of Austin Cultural Development, JP’s Peace Love & Happiness Foundation, Bethany Christian Services, and ConnectHer.


We would like to thank Adam J. Segal • The 2050 Group – Publicity for the press release.