Chad Now - Africa documentary reinvented
Chad Now - Africa documentary reinvented
If tomorrow you woke up in Africa's most corrupt, most beautiful, most misunderstood land, this would be your experience - Chad Now.
If tomorrow you woke up in Africa's most corrupt, most beautiful, most misunderstood land, this would be your experience - Chad Now. Read more
Have you ever seen a documentary on Africa? Was it about AIDS, or famine, or water? Or did it follow child musicians or a soccer team that defied poverty through victory that glorified a nation? Between the extremes of Western depictions of death and perseverance in Sub-Saharan Africa, there is a reality. With completely unscripted, unstaged footage, Chad Now brings to the world a closer glimpse of reality in Africa than has ever before been achieved. Rather than telling a single, premeditated story, Chad Now depicts the real experiences and interactions of two individuals first introduced stateside as they embark on an ambitious month-long deployment to Chad. As they initiate their projects and travel the span of one of Sub-Saharan Africa's most corrupt and war-torn nations, they meet up with prostitutes, pastors, European milk cows, satellite television marauders, glue sniffing street kids, affluent bourgeois schoolgirls, rainbow colored mosquitos, yogurt, and chinese soap.
The development of the documentary Chad Now began in 2008 when University of Texas freshman James Gibson traveled independently to Chad on a $1,000 fellowship to perform research on water sanitation. Equipped with only a semester of Arabic and no knowledge in French, James' trip was fraught with struggle and marked by moments of extreme danger and salvation. The documentary begins with media that James captured on his first trip to Chad.
The film catches up with James some four years down the road as he juggles the management of three nonprofits, a part time job, and university classes. As James and those who work with him are stretched to their financial and mental limits, his long awaited to return to Chad grows closer by the day.
James and a Canadian world traveler/cameraman named Ammon arrive in N'Djamena, Chad in December 2011. As James and Ammon attempt to complete the objectives of their trip, including starting an internet cafe and cataloguing the span of the Chadian travel experience, they encounter myriad challenges. Despite aggressive confrontations and moments of danger, James helps the viewer explore the beauty of Chadian culture. Encounters with Chadians and their honest and open relations portray an undiscovered world - the real Africa.
As James and Ammon contemplate whether illiteracy is wrong and wonder at the joy of shoeless street children, they encounter the whole span of Western expats. A winding road of age-old Western doctrines and confused interventions mesh politics, religion, and self-interest, leading the viewer to the conclusion that the only true Chad is buried deep in the hearts of the Chadian people.
(Although contents of the above synopsis and trailer that address Part 2 of the documentary are fictional placeholders until the trip is complete, all content is a best guess of what might transpire based on past experiences in and second-hand reports from Chad)
Part 1 of filming is already largely complete, and Part 2 is scheduled to commence in Chad December 13th. The $5,000 project funds will primarily fund travel costs (which stretch far beyond flight costs and may even include necessary payments to Chadian officials), with some of the funds being expended on video equipment. Chad Now is being shot with a series of HD cameras, including two small cameras that often go unnoticed and capture some of the film's most engaging moments. James Gibson filmed the majority of Part 1. Part 2 will be filmed cooperatively by James and Ammon Watkins. David Miess, a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin's elite RTF media program, works in the background shaping the technical aspects of the project.
$5,000 might seem like an insufficient amount for an "Africa film." Nevertheless, Chad Now is a production masterminded by insiders. Individuals experienced both in African travel and small-scale film production are bringing together their resources and knowledge to create Chad Now on a reasonable budget. Crew members have already expended personal funds on the project, and the requested $5,000 is a necessity for the documentary's completion.
- (60 days)