Kenya has long been Africa’s success story—stable and ethnically harmonious.
After the presidential election in December 2007, everything changed. Voting controversy split the country along ethnic lines. A thousand people were killed and half a million displaced, pushing Kenya toward civil war, if not genocide. Dignitaries intervened, brokering peace, and establishing a fragile power-sharing government, but the post-election fallout persists. An alternative local response to the post-election violence seems superficial by comparison but is potentially more impactful: produce a TV soap opera series, hoping taboo storylines can bridge ethnic divisions and help transform a nation. Starting in December 2008, a Kenyan production company began work on a TV drama series, “The Team”, following the struggles of a fictional soccer team to overcome their ethnic differences, both on and off the pitch.
There’s inherent drama behind any TV production: will deadlines be met; will it be good; will it find an audience? But here the stakes are exponentially higher: if you don’t captivate an audience, you risk further losing your country.
All the ingredients for a compelling feature film are here: a skilled team of filmmakers; a stunning location; an unfolding process that is inherently visual and dramatic; an uncertain outcome that could have repercussions for both other conflicts and media’s potential to make a difference. A place ripe for transformation, but that’s also teetering on the brink. What can a soap opera achieve in this volatile context? Watch and see.
Patrick Reed first met Search For Common Ground founder John Marks and partner Susan Collin Marks at a Stories of Change Convening at the Skoll World Forum. Patrick attended subsequent convenings at the Sundance Film Festival and went into production in 2009. The Team was completed and had its world premiere at IDFA in 2010 followed by a special screening at the Skoll World Forum in March, 2011.
Director: Patrick Reed
A decade ago, Patrick Reed abandoned a PhD program in History to work on documentaries, first as a writer/researcher, then as a director. Reed has collaborated with Peter Raymont on several White Pine Pictures’ award-winning productions over the years, playing a key creative role on Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire which won the World Cinema Documentary Audience Award at Sundance 2006, and Best Documentary Emmy in 2007. Most recently, Reed directed the award-winning documentary Triage: Dr. James Orbinski’s Humanitarian Dilemma which had its North American premiere at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.
Producer: Peter Raymont
Filmmaker, journalist and writer Peter Raymont has produced and directed over 100 documentary films and series during a career of 34-years. His films have taken him to Ethiopia, Nicaragua, India, Rwanda, the High Arctic and throughout North America and Europe. His documentary feature, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire was honoured with the 2005 Audience Award for World Cinema Documentaries at Sundance Film Festival and the 2007 Emmy Award for Best Documentary.
Raymont's most recent feature documentary film, A Promise to the Dead: The Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman, which premiered at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival; is an exploration of exile, memory, longing and democracy, seen through the experiences of the best-selling American-Argentinean writer and playwright. Raymont is also the Executive Producer of The Border, the new 13 episode, 1 hour, dramatic series on CBC television.
Social Entrepreneur: Search For Common Ground
Founded in 1982, Search for Common Ground works to transform the way the world deals with conflict - away from adversarial approaches and towards collaborative problem solving. We use a multi-faceted approach, employing media initiatives and working with local partners in government and civil society, to find culturally appropriate means to strengthen societies' capacity to deal with conflicts constructively: to understand the differences and act on the commonalities.blog comments powered by Disqus