By Greg Klein
A Cooperstown Central School graduate will spend two weeks this month in Tanzania, working as a producer for a film about clean water.
Mallory Arthurs, a 2016 CCS graduate and senior at Villanova University, will go to the Singida region of the east African nation as part of a class project.
“It is an ambitious project, but it is one I feel passionate about,” Arthurs told The Daily Star in a Monday, Oct. 7, phone interview.
Arthurs will go on the trip as part of an International Social Justice Documentary class, which is taught by Hezekiah Lewis III, a film producer who also teaches at his alma mater. His class has been making short documentaries for several years, including a 2018 film, “Sankofa,” which won a Student Academy Award in September. “Sankofa” traces the effects of colonialism on two black men, one living in Philadelphia and one in Ghana, in west Africa.
Although Arthurs is an economics major, she said she is interested in making films, and decided to take the class after hearing about the program’s success.
“The documentary concept is something that has been on my mind for a while now,” she said. “I like being more than a math major. I like the creative side.”
The class is two semesters long, Arthurs said. The first semester involves planning and filming, and the second will deal with the post-production of the film, which is planned to be about 20 minutes long.
Arthurs and her classmates are scheduled to be in Tanzania from Friday, Oct. 11, through Saturday, Oct. 26. Their project will look at the increasing difficulty of getting clean water in Singida, and the effect on Tanzanian women, who often take on the chore of getting the water back to their villages. The class may also help in building a well.
According to water.org, “only 50% of Tanzania’s population of 53 million has access to an improved source of safe water, and only 34% of Tanzania’s population has access to improved sanitation. Under these circumstances, people, particularly women and girls, spend a significant amount of time traveling some distance to collect water.”
Arthurs said she and another student will handle social media for the project and will pitch in with other tasks as well.
The project is being done in consultation with the Chris Long Foundation, which was created by the former Philadelphia Eagle player, and has made the struggle for clean water one of its main missions.
Arthurs, who will turn 22 next month, is best known in Cooperstown for being a starting forward on the 2015 state championship girls basketball team, which won the Class C title March 22, 2015, in Troy. Arthurs was also a starter when the team repeated as Section III Class C champions in 2016; they lost in the state semifinals that year. She said she is in regular contact with her teammates, especially her fellow class of 2016 players, Liz Millea, Jen Flynn and Ciara McGoldrick.
“In some ways, it feels like no time has passed, but now I am going to graduate (college) in seven months,” she said.
Although she did not play college basketball, Arthurs said she does play in a campus intramural league, and the state title is sometimes referenced.
“There are girls in the league who were playing in the same state championships I was in,” she said.
“I don’t think I will ever stop talking about it,” Arthurs said. “I don’t think my mom will ever stop telling people about it. I am not going to lie, usually when we meet someone new, she finds a way to bring it up.
“Those were the glory days,” she said.
Still, Arthurs said she loves Villanova, and isn’t ready to leave college yet.
“From my first visit coming onto the Villanova campus, I knew it was the place I wanted to be,” she said, “and I have not regretted that decision for one minute.”
Fundraising for the film project is ongoing, and Arthurs said she is raising $1,500 to cover her share of the costs. Go to https://tinyurl.com/MalloryVillanova to donate.