Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

by: Lorena Sander

October 2, 2012

Sierra Leone

The Idiot Box. The Boob Tube. TV, it gets a bad rep. Because TV has become so ubiquitous, it is easy to forget the power it has as a platform. In the western African nation of Sierra Leone, the grassroots human rights organization AdvocAid has taken justice to prime time with Police Case.

Sierra Leone

Police Case was broadcast on national channel SLBC, and had the specific aim of educating the public at large on their legal rights in the criminal justice system. It also addressed other human rights issues that are of particular importance in Sierra Leone, such as gender-based violence and police accountability. Post war Sierra Leone has so many reconstruction needs that reconstructing the film industry has not been a priority. Local visual story tellers have it rough – producing high quality films is expensive; there is little access to equipment in country; training opportunities are minimal, and there are no film schools or scholarships.

Sierra Leone

In a cultural landscape overrun by imported film and television, and where news organizations commission film makers to document conflict and not much else, the AdvocAid team, led by Executive Director Sabrina Mahtani, made sure that Sierra Leonean talent was involved and engaged at every level. They worked with an up and coming Sierra Leonean multimedia company, Concept Multimedia. The director of photography and editor, Idriss Kpange, has worked on several documentary films, including Lost Freetown, as well as educational dramas. The production team also recorded a catchy title track, theme song, and lively soundtrack for the show. After a very successful run on primetime, AdvocAid is planning community screenings and a DVD release.

Police Case has already been recognized by the Open Society Foundations, and is in the running to receive an Innovative Justice Award.
Support them by voting here.
A full write up of the project can be found here.
To learn more about AdvocAid’s work in Sierra Leone, visit their webpage here.
If you are interested in other wonderful, vibrant and powerful stories told through film check out their side project, Opin Yu Yi.

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