FILMMAKER: Franck Bieleu
LANGUAGE: French with English Subtitles
Banned in Cameroon, The Big Banana illustrates the poor working conditions in banana plantations and exposes the adverse impact on the people of a corporatocracy government that affords super profits for corporations at the expense of the local population.
The Big Banana outlines land grabbing tactics by company Plantation du Haut Penja (PHP) and the ensuing devastation for communities: poverty, pollution, and sickness from pesticides.
Bieleu, who spent two years filming residents in the remote countryside of Cameroon also features local cooperatives resisting the devastation through business alliances with fair trade organizations. As a result, The Big Banana not only exposes multinational corporations culpability in the land grab of Africa but also makes us reconsider where we get our fruit from.
FILMMAKER: Peter Bate
LANGUAGE: English/French/Dutch with English Subtitles
This true, astonishing story of what King Leopold II did in the Congo was forgotten for over 50 years. “ Congo:White King, Red Rubber, Black Death” describes how King Leopold II of Belgium turned Congo into its private colony between 1885 and 1908.
Under his control, Congo became a gulag labor camp of shocking brutality. Leopold posed as the protector of Africans fleeing Arab slave-traders but, in reality, he carved out an empire based on terror to harvest rubber. Families were held as hostages, starving to death if the men failed to produce enough wild rubber. Children’s hands were chopped off as punishment for late deliveries.
The Belgian government has denounced this documentary as a “tendentious diatribe” for depicting King Leopold II as the moral forebear of Adolf Hitler, responsible for the death of 10 million people in his rapacious exploitation of the Congo. Yet, it is agreed today that the first Human Rights movement was spurred by what happened in the Congo.
FILMMAKER: John Kani
ORIGIN: South Africa
Nothing But The Truth is a gripping investigation into the complex dynamic between those blacks who remained in South Africa and risked their lives to lead the struggle against apartheid and those who returned victoriously after living in exile.
In New Brighton, South Africa, 63-year-old librarian Sipho Makhaya prepares for the return of the ashes of his brother Themba, recently deceased while in exile in London after gaining a reputation as a hero of the anti-apartheid movement.
Internationally recognized, multiple award-winning actor John Kani is the lead actor in this film version of the internationally acclaimed award-winning play Nothing But The Truth which he also authored.
FILMMAKER: Dana Rotberg
ORIGIN: New Zealand
GENRE: Historical Drama
Based on a novel by Whale Rider writer Witi Ihimaera, White Lies – New Zealand’s entry in the 2014 Oscar competition for best foreign-language film – is an intense drama that explores with great humanity and sensitivity such difficult topics as race relations, skin bleaching and abortion.
Paraiti is the healer and midwife of her rural, tribal people – she believes in life. But new laws in force are prohibiting unlicensed healers, making the practice of much Maori medicine illegal. She gets approached by Maraea, the servant of a wealthy woman, Rebecca, who seeks her knowledge and assistance in order to hide a secret which could destroy Rebecca’s position in European settler society.
This compelling story tackles moral dilemmas, exploring the nature of identity, societal attitudes to the roles of women and the tension between Western and traditional Maori medicine.