Three countries, three children, woven together by a common desire: education.

Amber Imageworks is proud to bring to you the omnibus film “Once in a Child’s Life”. Three young female directors collaborated in its creation, each shooting one segment of the three part omnibus.

The first story is about Themba, the son of a domestic worker in South Africa. Themba is struggling at school and has trouble finding time to study amidst his other responsibilities. The second story is of Manuela, a young indigenous girl in Ecuador who is looking forward to going to school, but when trouble emerges, her hopes suddenly vanish. The final story is of Ismael, a boy from Colombia, who is forced to work on the family farm due to tradition, but he longs to attend school. Each of the films explores a different aspect of the theme of childhood and education, and the obstacles faced by children who are the first in their families to have this opportunity.

About the Directors

Sara Momtazian

Born in Germany, Sara Momtazian grew up in Australia, where she studied Film at SAE College in Byron Bay. She has worked on community film projects in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. She directed “Themba” (the first segment).

Jesahel Newton-Bernal

Born and raised in Ecuador, Jesahel studied Film and Animation at the Universidad de las Americas in Quito. She has worked as a freelance 3D animator, designer, and illustrator for 6 years. She is now working towards an MFA in Film Directing and Screenwriting at Columbia University.

She directed “Manuela” (the second segment).

Mafer Agahi

Born in Cauca, Colombia, Mafer Agahi started her film career as crew in a social development media project in Ecuador. She then participated in a moving image project and a photographic record of the development of local communities working with groups in Colombia. She studied Media at Bangor University, UK and is currently working towards a MA Film in Queen’s University Belfast. She directed “Ismael” (the third segment).


Khanyisani Kumalo (Themba)
Farah León (Manuela)
Ronald Carabalí Castillo (Ismael)


Director Sara Momtazian, Jesahel Newton, Mafer Agahi

Director of Photography Galen Humber, Morvarid Reyes Talebzadeh

Editor The First Order, Jesahel Newton, Gio Park

Sound Charles Singleton, Santiago Ochoa, Joaquin Montoya Londoño

Producer Amber Imageworks