Throughout March, AfriDocs on BET will be presenting a series of hard-hitting documentaries focused on the struggles and challenges that face both emerging and established democracies.
From the battles of activists trying to promote and secure democracy in Nigeria and Zimbabwe, to the ways in which media investigations and leaks threaten the establishment in Ghana and the United States, these award-winning films are both entertaining and informative.
Nigeria’s The Supreme Price is a ground-breaking film that tells the little known inside story of the Pro-Democracy Movement in Nigeria, led by Hafsat Abiolo, in the early 1990s.
Following the annulment of her father’s victory in Nigeria’s Presidential Election and her mother’s assassination by agents of the military dictatorship, Hafsat Abiola faces the challenge of transforming a corrupt culture of governance into a democracy capable of serving Nigeria’s most marginalised population: women.
Produced and directed by Joanna Lipper, the film, which can be seen on March 5, is told from the perspective of women, and has created waves within Nigeria and across the continent. It was the winner of the best documentary award at the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF).
CitizenFour is the Oscar-winning documentary that proves truth is stranger than fiction. This must-watch film tells the inside story of Edward Snowden, whose leaks are still impacting American intelligence agencies to this day.
This real-life thriller audiences unprecedented access to filmmaker Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald’s encounters with Edward Snowden in Hong Kong, as he hands over classified documents providing evidence of mass indiscriminate and illegal invasions of privacy by the National Security Agency (NSA).
The film, which is being screened on 12 March, is directed by Laura Poitras and was co-produced by Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, and Dirk Wilutzky, with Steven Soderbergh and others serving as executive producers.
The Tribeca Film Festival-winning film, Democrats, is directed by Danish film-maker Camilla Nielsson. It follows the contentious 2008 Presidential election in Zimbabwe and the subsequent coalition effort to rewrite the Zimbabwean constitution.
In the film, which can be seen on March 19, Nielsson is given astonishing access to Robert Mugabe’s political inner circle as a new constitution is drafted, negotiated and signed into law.
The film shows the back-and-forth battles between two sworn political enemies, Paul Mangwana and Douglas Mwonzora, who must work together for the common good, as they produce a document to steer the country towards founding principles that will define its future.
Democrats won best documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival, CPH:DOX, the Cinema Eye Honours Award and the Audience Award at the Budapest International Documentary Festival 2015.
The final offering for March is Chameleon which takes a closer look at controversial Ghanaian investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, who has been dubbed ‘the James Bond of Ghanaian journalism’.
He’s exposed a sex-trafficking ring by masquerading as a bartender, uncovered deplorable conditions in Accra’s psychiatric hospital, and posed as a crown prince in order to bypass a rebel checkpoint.
His unorthodox methods are infamous throughout Ghana, but, despite his notoriety, his face is unknown to the public. The film takes us behind the scenes of the Tiger Eye Investigations Bureau hot on the heels of his next big case.
His crusading work has made him a global figure, having received a shout-out from American President Barack Obama during Obama’s visit to Ghana in 2009.
Directed by Montreal filmmaker Ryan Mullins, Chameleon can be seen on March 26. The film was nominated for the award for best documentary feature at the Brooklyn Film Festival 2015.
AfriDocs is broadcast weekly on BET (DSTV channel 129) every Sunday evening at 8pm CAT.