April 18, 10 pm


About the Film

In the wake of long-time leader Robert Mugabe’s contentious 2008 presidential win, Zimbabwe took a historic step forward by convening a bipartisan constitutional committee as the country tried to evolve past its years of corrupt, authoritarian leadership. Two men from rival political parties were appointed to the committee: Paul Mangwana and Douglas Mwonzora, opposites in politics and personality, but both passionate and united in their ambition to deliver a historic new foundation for a reformed nation. Should they fail at securing maximum influence for their respective parties on the provisions in the new constitution, dire consequences loom for each. Democrats was filmed over the course of three years with unprecedented access to the two political rivals overseeing the committee, offering a rare, first-hand account of a country’s first steps towards democracy. MORE

Following a bitter war of liberation, Robert Mugabe became president of Zimbabwe in 1980. Under his leadership, the country made educational and economic progress until Mugabe evolved into a more dictatorial leader as opponents were put down and civil rights restricted. In 1999, in light of rising demands for reform, a new party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), rose up to challenge Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party. After a decade of strife, in 2009 the two parties formed a coalition government with Mugabe agreeing to share power with the leader of the MDC, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. It was up to the rival parties’ two representatives, Mangwana and Mwonzora, to rise to the daunting challenge of creating a constitution to lead their nation to prosperity and freedom. But with Mugabe increasingly stubborn about stepping down and both constitutional leaders facing death threats, will the nation move forward or erupt into chaos? 

By documenting the contentious process of drafting a new constitution, Democrats offers a fascinating glimpse at the political mechanics of a modern African country struggling toward democratic change.

The Filmmaker

Camilla Nielsson, based in Copenhagen, studied documentary filmmaking at the Tisch School of the Arts and holds an M.A. in visual anthropology from New York University. She directed the trilogy Good Morning Afghanistan (2003), Durga (2004), and The Children of Darfur (2005); and Mumbai Disconnected (2009), part of the Cities on Speed series. Since 2007, she has collaborated with Israeli video artist Yael Bartana on the trilogy And Europe Will Be Stunned (Venice Biennale 2011) and Re:Constructed Landscapes. LESS

Film Credits

Camilla Nielsson

Henrik Veileborg

Henrik Bohn Ipsen

Film Editor
Jeppe Bødskov

Idea and Research
Peter Tygesen

Kristian Selin Eidnes Andersen

Sound Design and Mix
Thomas Jæger

Production Management
Monica Hellström
Signe Tillisch
Sidsel Lønvig Siersted

Production Sound
Camilla Nielsson

Additional Cinematography
Sophie Winqvist

Editing Consultants
Niels Pagh Andersen
Janus Billeskov Jansen
Molly Malene Stensgaard

Post-Production Supervisor
Anders Vadgaard Christensen

Anders Vadgaard Christensen
Maria Klarlund

Technical Assistance
Mikkel Sangstad
Martin Munck Schmidt
Thomas Irving

Graphic Designer
Emil Thorbjörnsson

Radio Speaker
Alex Bell

Dialogue Premix
Kristoffer Salting
Brian Dyrby

Sound Effects
Dong-Han, Kim
Bo Asdal Andersen

Macedonian Radio Symphonic Orchestra

Kristian Selin Eidnes Andersen
Gustav Rasmussen

Oleg Kondratenko

Recording Engineer
Giorgi Hristovski

Public Relations
Freddy Neumann

Legal Services
Anders Kildsgaard

Insurance Services
Jens Georg Hansen

Accounting Services
Kis Egebjærg
Gert Hunosøe

Archive Material Provided by
Getty Images
ITN Source
Solidarity Peace Trust
SW Radio Africa
The Herald, The Sunday Mail and Kayedza

Special Thanks
Adam Nielsen
Amanda Hammar
Anders Refn
Bobby Hess
Camilla Blomquist
David Borenstein
Good Pitch
Helle Ulsteen
IDFA Forum
Jakob Kirstein Høgel
Jakob Thomas Bugge
Jens Serup
Joshua Oppenheimer
Ketil Karlsen
Linette Frewin
Martin Dennis
Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
Nhlanhla Mthethwa
Per K. Kirkegaard
Per Sandholt
Peta Thornycroft
Phie Ambo
Rejoice Ngwenya
Shari Eppel
Simon Bright
Tendai Tagarira
Tine Fischer
Torkil Lauesen
Tomas Martin
Vibeke Windeløv
International Sales
DR Sales
Fiscal Sponsor U.S.
Women Make Movies, Inc.

Commissioning Editor for NHK
Ken-ichi Imamura

Commissioning Editor for SVT
Axel Arnö

Commissioning Editor for NRK
Tore Tomter

Commissioning Editor for YLE
Iikka Vehkalahti

Commissioning Editor for VPRO
Nathalie Windhorst

Film Commissioners for the Danish Film Institute
Jesper Jack
Dola Bonfils
Helle Hansen

Advisor for Nordisk Film & TV Fond
Karolina Lidin

Executive Producer for BBC
Nick Fraser

Executive Producer for DR
Mette Hoffmann Meyer

Executive Producer for ITVS
Sally Jo Fifer

ITVS International is made possible by Ford Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett
Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Funding Provided by
Danish Film Institute
Danida Information Grant
European Partnership for Democracy / Press Freedom Consortium
Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program
Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund
Commonwealth Broadcasting Association
Chicken and Egg Fund of Tides Foundation

Democrats is a co-production of Upfront Films and ITVS International in association with
Nordisk Film & TV Fond, DR, BBC, NHK, SVT, NRK, YLE, and VPRO.

This film was produced by Upfront Films ApS which is solely responsible for its content.
© 2014, Upfront Films ApS. All Rights Reserved.

If we wrote the United States constitution today, what would you now want to include provisions for? Do the political parties in Zimbabwe shown in "Democrats" seem similar or different from our own?


  • Tribeca Film Festival
    Best Documentary Feature
  • One World Human Rights Film Festival
    Best Director
  • Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
    Best International Documentary
  • Copenhagen International Documentary Festival (CPH:DOX)
    Special Jury Mention + Reel Talent Award
  • Malmö Nordisk Panorama
    Best Documentary


Please review our comment guidelines.
If we wrote the United States constitution today, what would you now want to include provisions for? Do the political parties in Zimbabwe shown in "Democrats" seem similar or different from our own?