About this project
We did it!! With the help of 715 people from around the world, we made our goal! Thank you so much to everyone who helped us get there!
This is a great start, but with additional funding we can do more. In order to help this film go even further and create more impact, we have created a stretch goal, which you can contribute to on our website.
With our new goal of $35,000, we can:
-Translate the film not only into Amharic, Afaan Oromo and Spanish, but also into Indonesian, Sudanese, Somali & Akan
-Set up free screenings for more communities around the world that have been affected by land grabbing
-Plan an ambitious tour of the film for the Ethiopian diaspora communities around the world, beginning in the US and Canada
Please visit our website or click below to donate with Pay Pal.
DEAD DONKEYS FEAR NO HYENAS
A documentary thriller about land grabbing and the global rush for farmland - the new green gold!
All over the world, tens of thousands of people are losing their land and livelihood because companies are stealing or buying up their ancestral land. Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas travels to Ethiopia, one of the countries most affected by the rush for land. In spite of persecution and punishment by the government, local people have put their safety and lives at risk in order to to tell us their stories. On March 18th, the film had its world premiere at CPH:DOX (Copenhagen), where it was up for their F:ACT Award, followed by screenings with Docville (Leuven, Belgium) in their ConScience competition. On April 23rd, the North American premiere will take place at the San Francisco Green Film Festival, where director Joakim Demmer will be awarded with their Green Tenacity Award and a Swedish and German cinema release are planned, with more screenings to be announced.
Alongside the film, we will launch an outreach campaign to help us spread the stories of those affected by land grabbing. This campaign will include screening the film for a wide audience (people like you, students, organisations, festivals and political forums), translating and subtitling the film into several languages, creating an educational guide, updating the website and marketing. However, after 7 years of working on this film, we don’t have a penny left for this work!
Now we need active friends to help us with our outreach efforts. Please support us by donating or sharing our campaign. Be an ambassador for this film. Even 1 dollar makes a statement and helps us show that we are many.
WHAT IS LAND GRABBING?
Imagine waking up one day by the sounds of bulldozers and then being told that you and your family are about to be evicted from the land where you’ve lived on for generations. And then, if you refuse to leave your home, being forcibly removed or put in jail.
For tens of thousands of families in Africa, Asia and Latin America, this has become the harsh reality. In the past decade, more than 81 million acres of land worldwide—an area the size equal to four times Portugal—has been sold off to foreign investors. Some of these deals are what’s known as land grabs: land deals that happen without the free, prior, and informed consent of communities. Often the result is that local farmers are being forced from their homes and families left hungry.
Foreign investors are not the only ones involved in the rush for arable land. In fact, most of us, likely without knowing it, are contributing in some way. Our pension funds, for example, are invested in agriculture and development programs worldwide. Our tax money contributes directly to this devastating development.
(Trailers in Amharic, Afaan Oromo, Spanish & German at bottom of page)
THE FILM: DEAD DONKEYS FEAR NO HYENAS
Around the globe, there is a massive commercial rush for farmland – the new green gold. One of the most profitable new spots for farming is Ethiopia. Hoping for export revenues, the Ethiopian government leases millions of hectares of allegedly unused land to foreign investors. But the dream of prosperity has a dark side - the most massive forced evictions in modern history, lost livelihoods of small farmers, harsh repression and a vicious spiral of violence. Contributing to this disaster are the EU, the World Bank and DFID, providing billions of dollars in development money.
Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas investigates these foreign land-investments and exposes their impact on people’s lives. In the pursuit of truth, we meet investors, development bureaucrats, persecuted journalists, struggling environmentalists and small farmers deprived of their land.
WHY A CAMPAIGN?
As many of the countries most affected by land grabbing, Ethiopia is a country where having a critical voice can very quickly lead to imprisonment, if not worse. However, in spite of persecution, many courageous Ethiopians have put their safety and lives in risk in order to speak out. Some of them have already paid a high price for their bravery. The people in our film, who represent so many more people around the world, deserve to be heard. Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas has the potential to be a platform for those voices.
By donating and by helping us spread the word about the campaign, we promise to work hard on getting the film and its important stories out to a wide audience.
WHAT WILL MY MONEY GO TOWARDS?
Here's a few specific things that your donations will go towards:
Outreach Funding: We want the film to be used as a tool for spreading knowledge about land grabbing and we want to provide that tool to as many people as possible! We need to hire a coordinator who can reach out to individuals, organizations, festivals, and political forums to set up screenings, provide screening material, etc.
Screen the film throughout Africa: It should not be a privilege of the western world to see a film about what is affecting the poor. We want to hold free screenings of the film throughout countries affected by land grabbing.
Pay for translation and subtitling the final film: In order to make the film accessible to as many people as possible, we need to be able to translate the film into multiple languages - Amharic, Spanish, Russian, French, Chinese, German, Italian, Hindu and many more. These subtitles will be used for screenings, the DVD and VOD.
Marketing Budget: press agent, ads (printed and online), posters, flyers, printing, press material, promotional screenings
Develop Website into a resource for learning more about land grabbing and a platform for encouraging action and creating change
Legal advice: Due to the controversial topics in the film we need to safeguard ourselves against potential lawsuits.
WHO IS IN THE FILM
Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas was triggered by a seemingly trivial scene at the airport in Addis Ababa, six years back. Waiting for my flight late at night, I happened to see some tired workers at the tarmac who were loading food products on an airplane destined for Europe. At the same time, another team was busy unloading sacks with food aid from a second plane. It took some time to realize the real meaning of it – that this famine struck country, where millions are dependent on food aid, is actually exporting food to the western world.
The bewilderment over this paradox would soon give way for something else – anger. Anger over the injustice, that hundreds of thousands of small farmers were robbed of the land that they and their ancestors had worked on for generations, just to see it be given away to foreign investors coming from the other side of the world. The unbearable injustice that all these people’s livelihoods were ruined, not only meaning that they are losing the possibility to feed their families, but also an irreversible loss of their culture and identity.
The anger also came over the ignorance, cynicism and sometimes pure stupidity of international societies like the EU, DFID, World Bank etc., whose intentions might mostly be good, but in this case, ends up supporting a dictatorship and a disastrous development with our tax money, instead of helping the people. There would also come a feeling of shame when I realized how much landgrabbing is connected to ourselves. The sugar in my coffee, the cotton in my t-shirt and even the flowers for my mother might very well come from stolen land. Our companies, banks and pension funds, they are all investing in land. In the complex world of globalization, the responsibility might be so much dispersed that it apparently dissolves. But nevertheless, there are always people paying the price and they are real.
Even if this project is very much a journey into the darkness, it has also been such an extreme privilege to meet so many great and courageous people in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Kenya and Cambodia. In spite of very often high risks, we always came across people who were willing to take part in the film or were willing to support it. Some have already paid a very high price. Their reason for doing so is solely the hope that their voices at least shall be heard and that one day there will be an end to the injustice.
This brings a big commitment to us as filmmakers, to spread their testimonies as much as possible, and my personal hope is that we will deserve their trust.
Director: Joakim Demmer, was born and grew up in Sweden but currently lives in Berlin. Joakim has dedicated the past 7 years to following the transformation and devastating effects of land grabbing on the Gambela region.
Producer: Margarete Jangård, has been with WG Film for more than 10 years, producing international films such as Becoming Zlatan, Bikes vs Cars, BANANAS!* and more. Margarete has been working alongside Joakim on this project from day one and will be working with the launch of the film.
Executive producer: Fredrik Gertten, is an award winning director and journalist and the founder of WG Film and a filmmaker. His films include BIKES vs CARS (2015), BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS! * (2012) and BANANAS!* (2009).
Outreach producer: Glynnis Ritter has been working on Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas for almost 5 years now, first as a producer’s assistant and now as one of the outreach producers.
Outreach producer: Kerstin Übelacker joined WG Film in 2016 as a producer and outreach producer. Since then she has been focusing on the launch of Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas.
WE ARE MANY
During our last Kickstarter, for Bikes vs Cars, we campaigned with the theme WE ARE MANY, with the idea that more than a large amount of money, we wanted to gather a large number of backers, to show how many of us are out there that care about this cause. We carry on that theme here and reiterate once again that even a small amount is a statement.
WHY WG FILM?
WG Film is a documentary production company with extensive experience from working with films as a tool to create change. In Sweden, the sale of FairTrade bananas more than doubled after the release of WG productions Bananas!* and Big Boys Gone Bananas!*, from director Fredrik Gertten. His documentary Bikes vs Cars (2015), a New York Times “Critics’ Pick”, has now been screened more than 1000 times in festivals, special screenings and cinemas in 70+ countries. After 20 years of filmmaking, WG Film has a number of other notable documentaries under our belt, including co-production Burma VJ, nominated for an Oscar in 2009.
REWARDS (more images coming soon)
Risks and challenges
Most projects that you might want to make a donation to are high risk propositions: even if they reach their Kickstarter goal, will they end up creating a finished product? Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas is a rare, no risk film that is already completed and only needs your help to reach the larger world. Many documentary projects can only promise rewards that you’ll receive after a long, long wait until the film has actually been made. Luckily, we’re in a different position. With your help, our film is ready to be launched – and (depending on your choice) you’ll receive your reward right away.
It is however important to note that in some territories, where we do not own all rights to the film, we require permission to send out the finished film. However, in the past, our distributors have been very generous in letting us send out the film to our Kickstarter backers!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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