‘Picturing Independence: A Positive Revolution’ is a year-long production initiative to create a group of short films that celebrate the Sierra Leone of yesterday and today. As a country Sierra Leone is celebrating its 50th Anniversary of Independence on April 27th 2011. The films are being created by a group of young Sierra Leoneans who are a part of a film/video collective called WeOwnTV (which roughly translates to “Our Own TV” in Sierra Leonean Krio).
Who and what is WeOwnTV?
WeOwnTV is a collaborative media project launched by the filmmakers of the award-winning documentary “Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars.” In August 2009, Banker White and a small North American filmmaking team ran a storytelling and media production training workshop in Sierra Leone. Many of the workshop participants had their childhoods cut cruelly short by war; and as survivors, orphans, ex-combatants or former child prostitutes this opportunity to share their stories and creativity is not taken lightly. For the group, creating media provides an opportunity to unite their community in a cooperative effort while envisioning a future lit by optimism and resilience. Today, WeOwnTV has grown to become an active collaboration between filmmakers in North America and these talented filmmakers based in Freetown,
What will the films be about?
As part of the initiative, both narrative and documentary films are going to be produced. These works explore the idea of independence and rebuilding a positive national and cultural identity. The project has already received the honor of being selected as one of the programs officially endorsed by the Sierra Leone 50th Anniversary Committee.
One example of a film that is currently in post-production is titled, They Resisted. This is period piece set in the early days of the slave trade in Sierra Leone. It tells the story of a slave revolt in Africa and explores aspects of West African culture pre-contact. The team is working with local historians at the national museum of Sierra Leone. It was a major production that had a cast of more than forty actors and required a strong collaborative community effort with Kent Village – where the film was filmed. Many local villagers also acted in the piece.
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nuMAD nyc is a group show I'm curating. It will be on view at 3rdeyesolation Gallery, 1501 Broadway, Brooklyn. The opening reception is on March 29th at 7pm. Afterparty at 9pm will be hosted by the Brooklyn Good Guys .