I Am Because We Are

I Am Because We Are
I Am Because We Are poster.jpg
cover for the DVD to the film
Directed byNathan Rissman
Produced byMadonna
Angela Becker
Written byMadonna
Narrated byMadonna
Music byPatrick Leonard
CinematographyKevin Brown
Grant James
Nathan Rissman
Marc Shap
John Martin White
Edited byDanny Tull
Distributed bySemtex Films
Release date
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
United States

I Am Because We Are is a 2008 British-American-Malawian documentary film about AIDS orphans in Malawi. It was directed by Nathan Rissman and written, narrated, and produced by Madonna through her production company Semtex Films.

The film premiered at the 7th annual Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, on April 24, 2008 and at the 61st annual Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France on May 21, 2008. The film also headlined the 2008 Traverse City Film Festival.[1] On December 1, 2008, it premiered in the U.S. on the Sundance Channel for World AIDS Day. On March 26, 2009, the film was uploaded by Madonna's team onto YouTube and Hulu for free viewing.[2]

The film won the VH1 Do Something Docu Style Award in 2010.


The film documents the lives of orphans in Malawi, where an estimated 500,000 children have lost parents to HIV and AIDS.[3] Many of these children live on the streets. The film also shows the efforts with Madonna's charitable organisation Raising Malawi in helping with improving their lives and conditions.[4]

Madonna said about the film: "To say that this film is a labor of love is trivial. It's also the journey of a lifetime. I hope you all are as inspired watching it as I was making it."[5]

The film, released in 2008, was described by long-time friend Rosie O'Donnell as "devastating and amazing."[6] Both Madonna and O'Donnell attended a private screening on October 11, 2007.