Africa: is there any good way to make a film about the conflicts there?

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  • #16
    Re: Africa: is there any good way to make a film about the conflicts there?

    Originally posted by Tochirta View Post
    This stuff is not rocket science. Of course Africans are killing Africans en masse, and it's terribly sad and ignorant, but to pretend like 'it just is' without acknowledging the incredibly f*cked up history that Western powers have played is so offensive I don't even know where to start.

    That is the problem. And if you do just a little bit of research you'll see why people are (rightly) cynical.
    Well it's also more than just the legacy of colonialism. But I wasn't trying to start a debate about the history of Africa. It seems to me that when the press is cynical about some of these films, it's less because of historical inaccuracies and more because of the "exploitation" aspect. That to me was the interesting concept: when does a film become exploitation, even if it is clearly has a noble purpose? And, as Nic said earlier in the thread, should some stories only be told by certain people? Or from a certain perspective? That kind of stuff.

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    • #17
      Re: Africa: is there any good way to make a film about the conflicts there?

      Originally posted by Rantanplan View Post
      Well it's also more than just the legacy of colonialism. But I wasn't trying to start a debate about the history of Africa. It seems to me that when the press is cynical about some of these films, it's less because of historical inaccuracies and more because of the "exploitation" aspect. That to me was the interesting concept: when does a film become exploitation, even if it is clearly has a noble purpose? And, as Nic said earlier in the thread, should some stories only be told by certain people? Or from a certain perspective? That kind of stuff.
      but that's the point - the silence of the history is tied to the exploitation of the present.

      you say the 'noble purpose is clear' but honestly, I and a lot of people just don't see it.

      What exactly was the purpose of Blood Diamond and Machine Gun Preacher?

      EVERYONE knows there are atrocities and famines in Africa. It's practically the only thing that's ever said about Africa.

      and at this stage, it's more than a little offensive when some Western filmmaker (whose parents/friends/relatives may be engaging in business/political activities that are currently exploiting Africa, just like their forefathers) says: "hey, you know you got some real problems in Africa."

      Oh really? Tell me something I don't know. How about you pick up that camera/pen and write about something that's actually enlightening? Instead of exploiting horrific situations for simplistic poverty-porn to further your own career.

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      • #18
        An African Story

        Originally posted by Conrad View Post
        The reason that few in the West care about what happens in Africa is mostly due to the fact that it's a tradition of Africans killing Africans....

        They simply do it to themselves. It's kind of hard to feel that bad about that. It's also impossible to fix from the outside without taking away basic human rights.

        If you want to reach an audience, or producer, you're going to need to focus on some person, or group, in Africa that's trying to make it better. And that someone can't be an outsider.
        Why not an outsider protagonist?

        I would really like to see a film made about Walter Plowright and his battle to eliminate the rinderpest virus.

        "Plowright's work on eradicating rinderpest has been compared to the development of the smallpox vaccine. With his assistant RD Ferris he carried out much of his research at the East African Veterinary Research Organisation in Kenya between 1956 and 1971.

        "Together they created the first truly effective vaccine against the disease. It had been known for some time that rinderpest was caused by a virus, and that if an animal survived the disease it would be immune for life. Just as Jenner used a mild disease (cowpox) to immunise people against smallpox, several groups had previously tried to develop a weak strain of rinderpest virus that would protect cattle against the full-strength disease.

        "Plowright used the relatively new technique of cell culture (growing cells in glass tubes), to weaken the rinderpest virus. Having 'dluted' the virus in such cell cultures, he would remove it, then transfer it to a 'fresh' culture.

        "After repeating this process 95 times, he had a virus that no longer caused disease when injected into a cow, and proved itself harmless when passed from cow to cow. Crucially, animals injected with his cell culture-adapted virus became immune to rinderpest itself."

        ~ The Telegraph, March 15, 2010
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuG5_wdO050

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYP4q4aZWc4
        JEKYLL & CANADA (free .mp4 download @ Vimeo.com)

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        • #19
          Re: Africa: is there any good way to make a film about the conflicts there?

          Originally posted by Tochirta View Post
          but that's the point - the silence of the history is tied to the exploitation of the present.

          you say the 'noble purpose is clear' but honestly, I and a lot of people just don't see it.

          What exactly was the purpose of Blood Diamond and Machine Gun Preacher?

          EVERYONE knows there are atrocities and famines in Africa. It's practically the only thing that's ever said about Africa.

          and at this stage, it's more than a little offensive when some Western filmmaker (whose parents/friends/relatives may be engaging in business/political activities that are currently exploiting Africa, just like their forefathers) says: "hey, you know you got some real problems in Africa."

          Oh really? Tell me something I don't know. How about you pick up that camera/pen and write about something that's actually enlightening? Instead of exploiting horrific situations for simplistic poverty-porn to further your own career.
          Hey, I respect where you're coming from (although I don't know where that is --I take if you're from Africa?), those are exactly the issues I thought were interesting to bring up.

          So are you saying that you find little if any value in films made (by Westerners) about some of the war-torn zones in Africa? These films are very few and far between. Should there be none?

          ETA: As for Machine Gun Preacher, why not? It's got all the requirements for a compelling story, AND it's based on a true story. A good for nothing criminal drug addict has a vision, gets off his ass and actually does something that people in suits sitting behind desks couldn't or wouldn't --build an orphanage in a war zone. The story might take place in Africa, but it's also a universal story about how one single person can actually make a difference. What is so wrong with that? Those kinds of stories are inspiring, regardless of where they take place.

          ETA: And btw, while a lot of people might think of Africa as famine and war, most have absolutely no idea what's really going on there. So is an imperfect film better than NO film when it comes to raising awareness about, for instance, the LRA? Someone might see a piece of fiction and be moved to do some research and maybe even contribute to a cause. You never know.
          Last edited by Rantanplan; 08-02-2012, 09:36 PM.

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          • #20
            Re: Africa: is there any good way to make a film about the conflicts there?

            Originally posted by Rantanplan View Post
            ETA: As for Machine Gun Preacher, why not? It's got all the requirements for a compelling story, AND it's based on a true story. A good for nothing criminal drug addict has a vision, gets off his ass and actually does something that people in suits sitting behind desks couldn't or wouldn't --build an orphanage in a war zone. The story might take place in Africa, but it's also a universal story about how one single person can actually make a difference. What is so wrong with that? Those kinds of stories are inspiring, regardless of where they take place.

            ETA: And btw, while a lot of people might think of Africa as famine and war, most have absolutely no idea what's really going on there. So is an imperfect film better than NO film when it comes to raising awareness about, for instance, the LRA? Someone might see a piece of fiction and be moved to do some research and maybe even contribute to a cause. You never know.
            my dear,

            I could care less about the machine gun preacher. I'm not moved.
            first of all, it's called the white savior complex. The vast majority of these films are patronizing. And that's the real problem. That's what sticks in the minds of people who watch, not the activism. Look it up.

            Secondly, why is it that whenever I see films made about Africa, they're mostly some white protag? You don't find that kinda ludicrous?

            There are LOTS of non-White characters, mostly Africans (home and abroad), who are setting up orphanages, building hospitals, providing food, adopting kids at a much higher rate than some White dude...while struggling to make ends meet in US or Canada. Yet no one publishes their story or deems it worth talking about.

            and despite what some may think, most Westerners aren't really inspired to make monumental, lasting change in Africa. KONY 2012 showed that. It's just lame internet activism.

            At the end of the day, Africa doesn't need orphanges first and foremost. Your little contribution, as guided or misguided as it may be, can't do jack in the face of the much larger problem: ECONOMICS.

            and that's the big dance that nobody wants to talk about because it's intrinsically linked to how you value things in this society. 'You start following the money and you don't know where it'll take ya' - The Wire

            We need Western countries to stop f*cking us economically and draining us for our resources (which in turn spikes conflict). It would also help if they hadn't directly/indirectly installed uneducated dictators and given them loan money, which these dictators spent in countries that loaned them the money in the first place and now foot the bill with the borrowing country to pay back with interest --- so who really benefited from all that?

            All the other stuff (food, orphans) will follow once the core problem is addressed.

            And that's the film I want to see.

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            • #21
              Re: Africa: is there any good way to make a film about the conflicts there?

              Originally posted by Tochirta View Post
              And that's the film I want to see.
              So are you writing it? Because I'd like to see that film too.
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              • #22
                Re: Africa: is there any good way to make a film about the conflicts there?

                Originally posted by nic.h View Post
                So are you writing it? Because I'd like to see that film too.
                That's a film I'd like to see as well. Sadly, I don't think the majority of the US has a clue as to what is going on in Africa or why.
                "Have the courage to follow your heart & intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become" ~ Steve Jobs

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                • #23
                  Re: Africa: is there any good way to make a film about the conflicts there?

                  Originally posted by Tochirta View Post
                  my dear,

                  I could care less about the machine gun preacher. I'm not moved.
                  first of all, it's called the white savior complex. The vast majority of these films are patronizing. And that's the real problem. That's what sticks in the minds of people who watch, not the activism. Look it up.

                  Secondly, why is it that whenever I see films made about Africa, they're mostly some white protag? You don't find that kinda ludicrous?

                  There are LOTS of non-White characters, mostly Africans (home and abroad), who are setting up orphanages, building hospitals, providing food, adopting kids at a much higher rate than some White dude...while struggling to make ends meet in US or Canada. Yet no one publishes their story or deems it worth talking about.

                  and despite what some may think, most Westerners aren't really inspired to make monumental, lasting change in Africa. KONY 2012 showed that. It's just lame internet activism.

                  At the end of the day, Africa doesn't need orphanges first and foremost. Your little contribution, as guided or misguided as it may be, can't do jack in the face of the much larger problem: ECONOMICS.

                  and that's the big dance that nobody wants to talk about because it's intrinsically linked to how you value things in this society. 'You start following the money and you don't know where it'll take ya' - The Wire

                  We need Western countries to stop f*cking us economically and draining us for our resources (which in turn spikes conflict). It would also help if they hadn't directly/indirectly installed uneducated dictators and given them loan money, which these dictators spent in countries that loaned them the money in the first place and now foot the bill with the borrowing country to pay back with interest --- so who really benefited from all that?

                  All the other stuff (food, orphans) will follow once the core problem is addressed.

                  And that's the film I want to see.
                  And what is THAT film?

                  Is it about white guys building orphanages that "Africa doesn't need"?

                  Or is it about "LOTS of non-White characters, mostly Africans (home and abroad), who are setting up orphanages" that "Africa doesn't need"?

                  And yeh, KONY 2012 - "It's just lame internet activism." Which distinguishes itself in what way from any other "lame internet activism"?

                  When this thread started, I was intrigued. Now it's become another, "I am interested in X, which is really one of the greatest issues of out time, but nobody wants to make a movie about X."

                  You wrote: "We need Western countries to stop f*cking us economically and draining us for our resources (which in turn spikes conflict). It would also help if they hadn't directly/indirectly installed uneducated dictators and given them loan money, which these dictators spent in countries that loaned them the money in the first place and now foot the bill with the borrowing country to pay back with interest --- so who really benefited from all that?"

                  Is that the movie you want to write/make/see? Is that a movie at all?

                  And BTW, how's the non-Western alternative working for you - China? Are they in the f*cking or non-f*cking category?

                  Movies aren't about social issues. They're about people with personal issues; and sometimes those personal issues (how they started, how they are resolved, how they might not be able to be resolved) involve social issues.

                  Outside the context of making movies, the issues in this thread are important and distinctive. Inside the context of making movies, they're less important and not all that distinctive.

                  .
                  Last edited by Manchester; 08-03-2012, 08:08 AM.

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                  • #24
                    Re: Africa: is there any good way to make a film about the conflicts there?

                    Originally posted by Tochirta View Post
                    Rantaplan, Conrad's answer is exactly the reason people like myself aren't interested in 'your story' ('your' being the outsider's perspective) about how f*cked up Africa is.

                    Mostly because 95% of you all are so damn clueless. and it shows.

                    To Conrad, Hutu-Tutsi conflict started for no reason. Yet Conrad is totally unaware that the Hutu and Tutsi lived side by side for probably hundreds of years before the Belgians colonized the area.

                    And through colonial rule, Belgium ignited the conflict by favoring Tutsi over Hutus.

                    However, Belgian rule solidified the racial divide [that was already firmly planted in the Rwandan mindset]. The Belgians [also] gave political power to the Tutsis. Due to the eugenics movement in Europe and the United States, the colonial government became concerned with the differences between Hutu and Tutsi. Scientists arrived to measure skull - and thus, they believed brain - size. Tutsi's skulls were bigger, they were taller, and their skin was lighter. As a result of this, Europeans came to believe that Tutsis had caucasian ancestry, and were thus 'superior' to Hutus. Each citizen was issued a racial identification card, which defined one as legally Hutu or Tutsi. The Belgians gave the majority of political control to the Tutsis. [As a result of all of this,] Tutsis began to believe the myth of their superior racial status, and exploited their power over the Hutu majority. Current academic thought is that the European emphasis on racial division led to many of the difficulties between Hutu and Tutsi in the latter part of the 20th century", such as the Rwandan genocide.

                    -http://emileelime.tripod.com/id4.html

                    This stuff is not rocket science. Of course Africans are killing Africans en masse, and it's terribly sad and ignorant, but to pretend like 'it just is' without acknowledging the incredibly f*cked up history that Western powers have played is so offensive I don't even know where to start.

                    That is the problem. And if you do just a little bit of research you'll see why people are (rightly) cynical.
                    I went back far enough. I'm fully aware of the history of the Tutsi and Hutus going back hundreds of years. I've read about the genetic studies that trace back their lineage. Seeing as how the Tutsi-Hutu conflict was a portion of my primary point, I'd figured I'd included enough on the topic.

                    But feel free to believe the lack of sympathy for the problems in Africa is borne of ignorance. If you need to, that is.
                    I'm not sick, but I'm not well.

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                    • #25
                      Re: Africa: is there any good way to make a film about the conflicts there?

                      This is becoming a political discussion. Keep to discussing film related topics, please.
                      Chicks Who Script podcast

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                      • #26
                        Re: Africa: is there any good way to make a film about the conflicts there?

                        Write a truly original, powerful, amazing script about the ongoing strife and genocide in Darfur -- in a way that mainstream audiences could relate to worldwide -- and George Clooney would buy it and direct in a heartbeat. It is one of the driving issues of his existence.

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                        • #27
                          Re: Africa: is there any good way to make a film about the conflicts there?

                          I'm not sure if it's been mentioned, but HOTEL RWANDA was not only an excellent movie, but an *entertaining* one. Just because the subject matter is grim and depressing it doesn't mean that the movie has to be.

                          Cheers,

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                          SIX-GUN GORILLA: LONG DAYS OF VENGEANCE.
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                          • #28
                            Another African Story Film

                            As HOTEL RWANDA has been mentioned, I would recommend SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVILbook), tells a lot more about what happened during that genocide. Dallaire is now a Canadian senator.

                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mikwRioy0eE (YouTube trailer)
                            JEKYLL & CANADA (free .mp4 download @ Vimeo.com)

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