NEW YORK (AP) _ Madonna's harrowing new documentary on Malawi is clearly designed to draw attention to the poverty-stricken nation's plight and help to its people. But the superstar doesn't think much about enlisting aid from the U.S. government.
"I don't know what our government does period, instead of getting us in more debt and blowing up countries," she told the audience at the Tribeca Film Festival after premiering the film "I am Because We Are" on Thursday night. The packed audience included close friend Rosie O'Donnell and Natalie Portman.
Madonna produced and narrated the film on Malawi after she traveled there, where she met the toddler David Banda, whom she took home and is in the process of adopting.
The film shows the abject poverty that children face, how the AIDS crisis is claiming lives, the deplorable conditions that cause disease and other hindrances to Malawian life. However, the film urges people to volunteer and tries to offer hope.
After the film, Madonna and director Nathan Rissman took questions from the audience — one of which was from a filmgoer who wondered what the federal government could do. Madonna replied that change should come from the people, not the government.
"It's our own job to change that and I think it's a fool's errand to rely on the government to change things."
Madonna was also asked about the difficulty in adopting children from Malawi. Her adoption of David with husband Guy Ritchie has yet to be approved, though the boy has been living with the family since the fall of 2006.
"It's a new concept, the concept of adoption, consequently it's very very time consuming," she said. "I guess if you really want to do it you have to be willing to walk through the fire."
Madonna said she is looking for a distribution deal so the film can be seen in more theaters, and hopes to get it on DVD soon: "Fingers crossed, that will be happening soon."
"I Am Because We Are," is not Madonna's only project these days — her new album "Hard Candy" is released in stores on Tuesday."
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Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.