Unit Photography/Local 600: Film and TV Set Photography: Fambul Tok/Feature-Length Documentary Production Stills
Fambul Tok is my own first feature-length documentary -- I directed and produced, but I also shot stills (in fact, I went in to this film, which grew out of a still photography project of mine, just wanting to be the stills shooter). It premiered at SXSW in 2011, and was supported by some of the best players in the doc world -- including the Sundance Documentary Institute, Chicken and Egg, and IFP.
Fambul Tok tells the story of victims and offenders of Sierra Leone's brutal civil war come together for the first time, to revive their ancient cultural practice of “fambul tok” (family talk) to address the horrors of the conflict. Rebuilding shattered lives and communities through truth-telling and forgiveness ceremonies at bonfires and in cleansing rituals used by their ancestors, Sierra Leoneans are also building sustainable peace at the grass-roots level – succeeding where the international community’s post-conflict efforts failed. Neighbors and whole villages come to terms with rape, murder -- and massacre, in a story that involves one of the most notorious alleged offenders of the war, Captain Mohammed Savage, who plays a surprising role in the film. Filled with lessons for the West, this film explores the depths of a culture that believes that true justice lies in redemption and healing for individuals -- and that forgiveness is the surest path to restoring dignity and building strong communities.