Filmmaker Statement

Lucy Bailey and Andrew Thompson

Directors' Statement

We have worked together for 10 years — and much of that time has been spent filming in Africa, for which we have a huge passion. We've recently been working on short films in Africa, where we have been privileged to tell the stories of people who are so poor that they would never have 'mattered' otherwise.

We have been in many life-and-death situations with our contributors and have cried and laughed with them as we shared some of the most intimate moments of their lives. It is for some time, and based on this, that we have been developing and working on longer-format documentary ideas in Africa; and the story of Mugabe and the White African is a story that we feel the world should hear.

Much has been reported about the eradication of white-owned farms in Zimbabwe and the deterioration and subsequent collapse of the country. We have all seen news images of beaten-up farmers and seen the desperation in people's eyes as they live in hunger, hopelessness and fear. We wanted to make a film about a big issue like the land reform program policy in Zimbabwe, but in a very intimate and personal way. Our subject was Mike Campbell, the Zimbabwean commercial farmer who made legal history when he took President Mugabe to the international court of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal in 2007 and won the case a year later.

We believe our audience for this film to be sophisticated, and able to read images and characters. There is no commentary, and we allow our 'characters' to speak for themselves so as to build up a compelling narrative. The film is hinged by emotional moments in image and sound, so its impact on the memory will last long after the facts have been forgotten. This has been our trademark, particularly in our work for Comic Relief. The camera dwells on details — we like shots that are lavish and lingering and show a trust in the relationship with our subjects. This story is both epic and at the same time intimate, and the shooting style reflects this. We let the unfolding action dictate the pace, but the feel will be cinematic and in the moment.

We have done everything we can to tell this extraordinary story, one that would no doubt otherwise forever remain as a 'newspaper snippet.' We want this film to take the viewer to the heart of a historical moment, one that could be pivotal in Africa's future. The film responds to what unfolds, but at the end of the day we want the viewers to be able to make up their own minds.

We completed our film in the spring of 2009. Mike Campbell passed away at his temporary home in Harare on April 6, 2011, having never recovered from the injuries during his kidnap and torture inflicted by a gang trying to throw him off his farm on June 29, 2008, just two days after the presidential run-off election. Mike was an amazing and brave man. We will miss him.

— Lucy Bailey and Andrew Thompson, Co-directors

David Pearson and Elizabeth Morgan Hemlock

Producers' Statement

Our company, Arturi Films, has a slate of feature films in development. The films' common strengths are that that they enable the audience to go on an emotional journey with the characters in the story. The story of Mike Campbell and this fight for justice and the return of law in Zimbabwe immediately struck a chord with us; immediately we felt that it would resonate with a wider audience, especially because Mike was fighting for human rights and against racism. The fact that he was taking this action because his own president was the perpetrator of human rights abuses and the story was based in Africa, gave it a relevance and urgency that we don't come across very often.

We thought that we could bring something unique to Andy and Lucy's vision for the film. Financially and creatively, we were willing to take the risk alongside our directors.

Mike Campbell was an exceptionally courageous man with great dignity and humor. His willingness to allow us to tell his story was important as it gave the world a clear sense of what was really happening in Zimbabwe. It was a great honor for us to work with him, his son-in-law Ben Freeth and the family, and the film is a testimony to Mike's sense of fairness and desire for justice and the rule of law. Audiences the world over have been touched by the strength of his character and his decency, reflected so beautifully in the Zimbabwe National Anthem:

Oh lift high the banner, the flag of Zimbabwe
The symbol of freedom proclaiming victory;
We praise our heroes' sacrifice,
And vow to keep our land from foes;
And may the Almighty protect and bless our land.

Oh God, we beseech Thee to bless our native land;
The land of our fathers bestowed upon us all;
From Zambezi to Limpopo
May leaders be exemplary
And may the Almighty protect and bless our land.
Blessed be the land of Zimbabwe.

— David Pearson and Elizabeth Morgan Hemlock, Producers