Whose Serengeti? is a 30 minute film exploring the international controversy that ignited when Tanzania announced that it was going to construct a highway through the Serengeti. This story will unfold as a visual journey from the rugged terrain of Southern Kenya, to the bustling shores of Lake Victoria, through the vast Serengeti, into courtroom hearings in Arusha, and finally arriving in the port city of Dar es Salaam. Along this journey, we will meet various stakeholders who will share their perspectives on the road, illustrating the complex and multilayered elements of this story that have not made the headlines.
Understandably, citizens worldwide were alarmed by the thought of semi-trucks zooming by herds of zebras and lions. Reacting almost immediately, Facebook sites were launched, twitter tweets were sent, and new organizations emerged- all with the common goal to stop the road and “Save the Serengeti". But what about the underlying geopolitics propelling the road forward, particularly massive investment by the Bank of Beijing? Is the highway simply a more efficient means of transporting conflict metals used in electronics out of the Congo than it is about local economic development? Why has a funded alternative route that will bypass the Serengeti been rejected by the Tanzanian government?
The goal of the film is to take a critical look at the way our lives are becoming more and more connected through globalized natural resource commodity chains, technology, and social media outlets. However, this story is also about people; people who will be directly affected by the construction of a Serengeti Highway, one way or another. What has stood out from the beginning of my research is how little space there is the media for the expression of local opinions and concerns. All too often under-represented groups are written out of issues regarding development and conservation. Weaving together personal stories from these communities within the overarching framework of the highway controversy will challenge viewers to reflect on the central question: Whose Serengeti?
*This Kickstarter video was made with photographs I took while working and traveling throughout northern Tanzania in 2005. To view a higher quality version of this video, please visit: https://vimeo.com/42673378.
**Whose Serengeti? will be completed by June 2013.
Your financial participation in this independent film is critical. Every dollar I receive will go toward production and post-production expenses:
-equipment: rain+dust proof camera housing, camera and back-up audio gear, external hard drives, camera batteries and cables, and memory cards
-travel expenses (2 months): flight, visas, in-country transportation, accommodations, translator
-archival footage, music rights, and distribution
-film website to share information and keep the conversation going about the topics addressed in the documentary
The goal I have set at $6,500 is the minimum amount I need to produce a high quality film. If I do not reach this goal, your credit card will not be charged and I will not receive any funds from this campaign. In order to keep the cost low, I will be working day and night for the next 12 months producing, filming, and editing the entire documentary. It also means I will be traveling modestly, staying in hostels and becoming very well acquainted with local street food and bus systems!
Whose Serengeti? was selected as a University of California Human Rights Center Fellowship project for 2012. This distinguished fellowship receives a large volume of applications from graduate and Ph.D. candidate representing all 11 UC campuses. http://www.law.berkeley.edu/11947.htm.
Thank you for your interest and support,
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