How a Documentary Film Will Protect Land in Uganda
Solidarity Uganda recently announced its documentary film project “Our Feet Are Rooted,” a film which will highlight Amuru residents’ nonviolent resistance to the theft of their land by oil and sugar corporations. The film will chronicle the history of the land conflict through the eyes of local communities and residents and will be produced using participatory filmmaking methods, meaning the community members will help film and determine which shots and pieces of information are important to feature.
Directors Krista and Christian Imbesi of C & K Cinematography will be heading up this initiative. Their past work includes the documentary film Where We Belong, also shot in Uganda, which examines the adoption system and its international components. The Imbesis’ multi-genre artistic know-how will be an indispensable asset to the project. Krista is also a film professor with interests in ethnography and filmmaking ethics. Visit her website here.
How will this film prevent land theft in Uganda?
The conflict between the corporate-government-military alliances in Uganda and the residents themselves has been going on largely in the dark for several years, since the discovery of oil in the region. Most Ugandans outside of Amuru District are unaware of this 100,000 acre land dispute. The Acholi people have lived in Amuru for hundreds of years, relying on the fertile ground for their sustenance and income, as 99% of them are farmers. It is their home, though recent forced evictions have left many without homes, far from their food source.
As multinational companies continue encroaching and international governments keep providing military funding and training to Uganda, this film will bring national and international attention to the conflict. It will serve as an advocacy tool to affect social and political change both near and far from Amuru.
Moreover, there is an empowering element to telling one’s story. Film is an effective platform for articulating human identity. It provides a sense of ownership of a situation, which is crucial for communities like Amuru who have been tossed around to their displeasure for decades without end. Many have grown up in conflict zones and IDP camps, only to finally be allowed to return to their multi-generational homesteads and farmlands which are now being stolen. Sharing stories via film will embed a sense of community self-ownership and empowerment.
The final product, when screened in sub-Saharan Africa, will provide concrete examples of how nonviolent action can help marginalized communities achieve their goals. The conversation on the massive potential of nonviolent action that this film will generate will extend far beyond the community of Amuru.