As an impoverished boy in Kenya, Chris Mburu’s life was dramatically changed when an anonymous Swedish woman sponsored his primary and secondary education. Now a Harvard-educated human-rights lawyer, he hopes to replicate the generosity he once received by founding his own scholarship fund to aid a new generation. The challenges Mburu faces instituting his new program seem at times insurmountable but lead him down the path to discovery. Who is Hilde Back, the person who signed the checks that gave him a chance to succeed?
With clarity and grace, Jennifer Arnold’s film bears cinematic witness to the lasting ramifications of a small ripple of human kindness. Using a strong narrative thread, she unearths fascinating accounts and weaves them together seamlessly. It doesn’t hurt that her subjects have pure motivations and back stories to match. The secret of A Small Act was destined to be discovered, if only to remind and inspire others to take such a chance—and change a life. —Sundance Film Festival