Documentary - Production 2013

How does the land we inhabit affect our destiny? With Africa's largest port to be constructed, how do six Lamu islanders reimagine thier past, weave their present and revision their future?

    • Year of production
    • 2013
    • Genres
    • Documentary
    • Countries
    • KENYA
    • Languages
    • Duration
    • 70 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Philippa NDISI-HERRMANN
    • Writer(s)
    • Philippa NDISI-HERRMANN
    • Producer(s)
    • Atieno ODENYO (MaweMoja Productions), Philippa NDISI-HERRMANN (Thirsty Fish)
    • Synopsis
    • The sound of lapping waves and swaying palm trees. Bibi, an elderly Taarab singer, sits in the village square. Her chorus is behind her. Stone buildings surround the empty square. Bibi begins to sing a heart-wrenching song in Swahili. Bibi sings of a woman that everyone wanted and that when possessed by others, no longer had ownership of her fate becuase she no longer knew who she was.
      Then we meet the characters: Town planner Samia, Hotel Owner Lars, Councilor Farhad, Fisherman Mzee Hassan, Beach Boy WaterMelon, and up country Shopkeeper James. They take us back to their past; their childhood, their memories; their love and life in Lamu - the story illustrated through their reenactment. Through them we learn about Lamu's past of enslavement.
      We move to the Second Act, the Present, we watch the characters as they are now, as they weave their way through life, adapting to the construction of the port, the destruction of the landscape and ocean, the influx of foreign workers - we see their laughter and tears.
      The Third Act begins, our six characters invite us to join in on their imagination of the future of their own lives, and the future of the island. Each character reenacts what they imagine for each other's lives; adaptation, destruction, prosperity, poverty, love, destitution.
      The film steers towards subjectivity in order to be objective. the protagonists have conflicting lives and points of view. Each story presents the point of view of the current hero. Through telling the characters stories subjectively we lean towards empathazing with each person. However, as We Want Development progresses, the audience is inevitable forced to form their own opinion. And in this way the conflict begins, we empathize with each character, though some are the oppressors and others the oppressed.
      The film keeps asking the question; yes, we want development, yes we all have dreams, but at what cost will we attain a new life? How far can the decisions of the government affect the lives of people on a faraway island? And, in what ways does the island's past of enslavement influence their understanding of their future? To what extent does the land we live on affect our destiny?
    • Partners & financing
    • Further production and post production financing required
    • Beginning of shooting
    • Jun 01, 2013
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