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Faces of Kibera is a New York State nonprofit organization that is dedicated to helping the rising number of orphans in Kibera, Kenya. Kibera is the largest slum in East Africa. With an estimated one million people concentrated in one square mile, the living conditions in Kibera are desperate for all, and particularly difficult for the children. Our goal is to push back against this tide of poverty, illness and deprivation by creating and supporting a community-based facility outside of Kibera to provide care, education and services to the orphans of Kibera. For more information go to: www.facesofkibera.org
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Opened since: June 29, 2009
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written by Angelic on January 17, 2012
On Sunday night, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will present the Golden Globes to honor excellence in film and television. Among this yearâ€™s nominees for Best Actress â€“ Motion Picture Drama is Rooney Mara for her portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in David Fincherâ€™s film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Mara will face stiff competition from past winners Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs) and Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), as well as from two other terrific performers: Viola Davis (The Help) and Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk about Kevin).
So, on the eve of Maraâ€™s coming out party as one of Hollywoodâ€™s major actresses, we at CT feel that itâ€™s important that you get to know her better â€“ to understand that sheâ€™s more than the girl with the dragon tattoo.
Mara is a scion of the two families that helped found two of the National Football Leagueâ€™s most respected and successful franchises â€“ the New York Giants (through her uncle John Mara, the Giantsâ€™ longtime co-owner) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (through her great-grandfather Art Rooney, Sr., the Steelersâ€™ founding owner, and her great-uncle Dan Rooney, whoâ€™s the current chairman of the Steelers and the United States Ambassador to Ireland). She attended New York Universityâ€™s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where she not only honed her acting skills by performing in a few student films but also studied nonprofit organizations and international social policy.Maraâ€™s acting studies at NYU led to guest spots on TV shows and to roles in the filmsTanner Hall (2009), Youth in Revolt (2009),Dare (2009), The Winning Season (2009), and the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street(2010). Dare and The Winning Season, in particular, demonstrated Maraâ€™s budding talents as an actress â€“ both films played at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and earned her an accolade as one of the â€ś25 New Faces of Independent Film of the Year.â€ť More specifically, Maraâ€™s performance in The Winning Season, in which she plays a teenage basketball player who has an affair with a much-older shoe salesman (Kevin Breznahan), showcased her ability to excel in movies with dark, complex, and challenging storylines.
At the age of twenty-six, Mara is the youngest of this yearâ€™s nominees for Best Actress â€“ Motion Picture Drama. Sheâ€™s also a relatively fresh face on the Hollywood scene. She made her big break last year in Fincherâ€™s The Social Network, playing the smart and confident Boston University student Erica Albright, who dumps Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) at the beginning of the film, which inadvertently helps set the creation of Facebook into motion as something of a revenge plot that her ex-boyfriend concocts to punish her. Mara received her first award recognition for her portrayal of Albright, garnering two awards for her performance as a part of The Social Networkâ€™s ensemble cast: the Hollywood Springs Award for Ensemble of the Year and the Palm Springs International Award Film Festival Award for Ensemble Performance.
When casting The Social Network â€“ and, eventually The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo â€“ Fincher obviously saw something in Maraâ€™s intelligence and charisma that made her the perfect choice for his films. Considering the graphic content of many of the scenes in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, in particular, he clearly noticed Maraâ€™s willingness to take chances and, potentially, to put herself in uncomfortable situations in the interest of the film. A detailed exploration of some of Maraâ€™s risky and powerful scenes in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is unnecessary here. But itâ€™s important to note that, as Mara told Terri Gross on NPRâ€™s Fresh Air in 2011, in the interest of the creating a Lisbeth Salander who holds true to the character in Stieg Larssonâ€™s novel, Mara transformed her body â€“ much in the same way that Robert De Niro did in Raging Bull (1980) through his extensive weight gain â€“ by acquiring body piercings and tattoos. She also transformed herself into Lisbeth by acting in scenes of physical and sexual abuse (the harrowing forced fellatio and anal rape scenes with Nils Bjurman (Yorick van Wageningen)) as well as more tender sex scenes with Mikhael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), in which she begins to show Lisbethâ€™s metamorphosis into an individual with the potential for love and compassion.
Indeed, what makes Maraâ€™s performance so profound and original is her ability to show true character development. And this development isnâ€™t straightforward or linear in any way. Rather, as her facial expression shows at the end of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, when upon seeing her lover Mikhael embracing Erika Berger (Robin Wright), she dumps the leather jacket she bought for him in a dumpster, Mara conveys Lisbeth as a truly human individual â€“ one who, like us all, can reach moments of selflessness and emotional vulnerability but can just as easily be hurt when something doesnâ€™t go our way.
The word â€ścompassionâ€ť is crucial to understanding Maraâ€™s abilities as an actress and as a humanitarian. It, of course, takes a lot of compassion for her to play her character Lisbeth â€“ a very scarred individual â€“ with so much conviction and love. Take a minute to think about the love for her audience and abused women everywhere that Mara illustrated by throwing herself into the role of Lisbeth to the extent that she did. Then take these thoughts and reflect on something that you may not know about Mara â€“ her position as overseer of the charity, Uweza Aid Foundation.
According to the organizationâ€™s website, theÂ Uweza Aid Foundation, which began in 2007, â€śfights the cycle of poverty that persists in Kenyaâ€™s Kibera Slum . . . [and] . . . nuture[s] and build[s] upon the already existing capabilities and resourcefulness of Kenyans through community-based empowerment programs.â€ť The Foundation includes â€śan after-school program, soccer club, school sponsorships, and a counseling initiative for at-risk and troubled youth.â€ť The Foundationâ€™s blog can be foundÂ here.
In 2007, perhaps deriving from her university interests in nonprofit and international social policy and the compassionate nature that she demonstrates in her acting, Mara formed Faces of Kibera to assist its orphaned and vulnerable children. In 2011, her organization combined with the Uweza Aid Foundation, and she became the president of the USA branchâ€™s board of directors. Mara has raised money in the USA for Uweza, giving orphaned kids backpacks, paying teachersâ€™ salaries, obtaining a water tank for the village that provides water and electricity, and designing jewelry, the proceeds of which go to Uweza.
So, when you sit down to watch the Golden Globes on Sunday night, please keep in mind that Rooney Mara, one of the actresses whom weâ€™ll celebrate on Sunday, is a lot more than the Golden Globes and the girl with the dragon tattoo.
Source: CT Zine
This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 at 11:14 pm and is filed under Recent News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
One Response to “Golden Globe Nominee Rooney Mara: More Than the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
david written on January 18, 2012
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