Harry Belafonte’s Address

The transcript of Mr. Harry Belafonte’s address at the launch of the Human Bondage Project follows below:

Let me first express my great sense of privilege to have been engaged in the affairs that have been buzzing around this building for the past days. When I came here I did not know quite what to expect, and I stopped to put notes together and things that I thought might be relevant to the affairs of this convention only to discover as I, each day, walked around the halls and listened to the people, that my course would have to be recharted.

When Lindiwe called, I had just seen her at a festival in London. I was in Liverpool actually with James and others at the international museum of slavery that was open there for Britain to express its recognition of the 200th anniversary of the ending of the slave trade. And Liverpool was the greatest slave port in all of Europe. And for the citizen of that city to take the initiative to recognize and remember their involvement and their duplicity, was a fetching moment. And then I was called to come to London and to sit with, to break bread and to reminisce with the director general (Lindiwe) We embraced, we talked about things and I left and went back to America. And now to the point:

When Lindiwe Mabuza picks up a phone and says the following; Harry, darling! So good to know you’re home. How are you? Tell me, what are you doing in May?,” I’d learnt that it was an indication that it was time to fasten my seatbelt. I’d heard this voice and this greeting a hundred times. And each time I engaged her, it was always in the commitment and the involvement, in some affair, that had to do with human liberation. African liberation. Liberation for a people trapped in the abyss of poverty! She did not say to me that it was Input2008, what she did say was; “We’re having the first conference to put together a huge, triumphant manifestation of thought that will result in an afro-centric view of bondage!”

Well, how the hell do you not get all kinda ikky on that and get ready to say, ”say that again.” So I really came here because it was not the necessity to see more directors, more actors and more filmmakers. I had been in that world and still exist there – to some significant degree. It’s the work I do, and the frontiers and the world to be reversed, challenged, conquered because of how African-Americans and Africans relate to the whole issue of media, communications, language.

For me, the first thought was not so much the visiting of the history of slavery, and to hear an African point of view of what happened – as important as that is – it was really to take a good, hard look at how do we address the extensions of slavery that still permeates the globe and holds so much of the world population in bondage. A bondage that exists directly from the tenants of what slavery did to institute the language, the beliefs and the myths that we all dwell in. When I discovered that it was the South African Broadcasting Company that was the partner to this, and an important instigator, my first thought was, a mechanism of bondage has found its place in this discourse.

And when I heard that I was going to be talking to people who call themselves producers and broadcasters, I could not quite decipher what that meant. What is a broadcaster? Who is a broadcaster? Why is that the central identity? Rupert Murdock, is a broadcaster. Time Warner, is a broadcaster. Sony and BBC, they’re also broadcasters. They’re also instruments of oppression; they’re instruments of holding us in bondage. And what does the SABC bring to this debate that will change the image of what communication does? My first question to the moment is, “In this process, who sits at the head of the information chain? Who sits at the head of all that we say and do, that will make the final determination through the instruments we pay homage to of how we are seen and how we are permitted to see ourselves?”

I am taken by things that have been said – even here tonight. The young lady who said, ‘Africans have to have a sense of the importance of stories.’ And I got caught for a moment when she said that because there was no ill will in [her] statement. There was a condition that is deeply rooted in subliminal contamination. The truth of the matter is, no one more appreciates the power of story than the African! Story was, in fact, central to our survival. We had no other mechanisms but stories – stories that had to be told in metaphor, stories that had to be hidden from the master, stories that had to overlap and connect us because we didn’t speak the same language.

Africa didn’t become monolithic until slavery. There’s too much diversity here for someone to say; ‘I’m an African,’ because that describes the continent. So [one] gets into the more subtle exchanges; what kind of African? Who, in Africa, are you? How do you see yourself, and when do you choose to use the monolithic term? The most important aspect about who we are is our diversity. In that diversity, we are able to draw sustenance, and ideas and thoughts can be stimulated by what others think and say and do! One of the most important forces of tyranny in the 20th century, Adolf Hitler, understood clearly, what it had to do with the power of communication ‘cause when you read the writings of Joseph Gurgles, who was the Minister of Propaganda, he made a simple statement, “control what people know, and you will control what people do.” How are you being controlled? What are the frustrations and the things you find yourself up against that makes you continuously chip away at your passion, chip away at your love of truth because you have a need to be heard?. The SABC didn’t emerge, it was here! And its primary function was to use its power to influence oppression, to sustain class interests, to keep the racial divide; to do all the things it needed to do, to conquer Africa and to have its greed and its will prevail!

The institution was designed, in the most subtle of application, to do that. When South Africans inherited the institution, the revolution that we anticipated would take place and be central to the upheaval of the historical conditions and those things that confined us, was in the hearts, minds, bosoms and expectations of everyone. Only to discover that 14 years later I’m sitting in South Africa, listening to South Africans bitterly complain about the extent to which the SABC has either been unable or unwilling to open the process so that South African citizens can become more greatly informed, more greatly inspired, better able to identify who they are, see the enemy more clearly. And then I have to say, ‘there is a need for service here.’ What can I bring to the table? I don’t bring any special wisdom or any special gift as an artist. There are too many people who are wise and gifted.

What I do, however, exploit, is how long I’ve been here. And I have been in so many milestones, in the liberation struggle. Most central of the struggles and liberations, being my own, as a child born in the great depression, in the USA. My first experience about Africa was based upon cinema – upon the power of the visual. My introduction to Africa was Tarzan. I sat, as a Black child, in the movie house, and what I saw stunned me, confused me, shamed me and put me into a place that was hard to extricate myself from because there were very few forces to contradict what I saw because we didn’t have the privilege and the capacity to communicate otherwise. I saw Tarzan, I saw Africa. I saw this white man swing from the trees. His greatest intellectual offering was; aaahh-yaaah! And around him were all these indigenous people who couldn’t do jack s**t! And so, the last thing I wanted to be when I left that theater was an African – I didn’t wanna know them.

(tape change)…in an admiral’s suit, and a funny admiral’s hat in the parade, and he was from Jamaica. And after we got past the costume, I tried to fathom what the passion my mother and everyone saw in what this African was saying. And when she saw me in this place of conflict, she began to move me through a system of information. … And Hailie Selasie went before the League of Nations and we saw a story in the Black newsreel. I saw an African that was quite different than any that I had seen. But, I was a catholic, and I was ordered to be subservient to the commands of the church! So I was confused when, in the newsreel, a few Sundays later, I saw the Pope bless the Italian troops going off to Ethiopia, to murder poor Black people. My world was turned upside down with all the contradictions. I was bouncing around looking for identity, purpose and for how I was going to survive in the midst of all of this misinformation. My mother took me back to the island because she saw the safe keeping in her early years when she grew up in St. Anne. It was far safer for her children that the wild street of New York City with all the oppression, anger and rage. Even as a person of color, I was still isolated in Harlem because we were Caribbeans. So we had to negotiate with African-Americans and the Black hierarchy so they could see if they could find a place to accommodate us.

Who is at the end of the information chain? Who controls that and why? And how does it feed their interests? And if their interests are fed as they desire, why is it at such an inhuman expense? Why are we constantly looking for a place in which to see ourselves and find ourselves and know who we are? When I was born, I was first identified as a colored. And not too long after that, because of Dr W.E.B. DuBois – and others who have enriched our experience with their wisdom and their power – [I was] called Negro. And not too long after that – in another case of rebellion – I was soon Black. The last of the titles became, ‘African-American!’ I said to myself, ‘we’re getting somewhere here.’ But to be in the belly of the beast, where three quarters of a century of a life, was distracted by just trying to find a title, was not what provoked others.

Jamaicans know who they are. Haitians know who they are – they can identify themselves with strength, dignity and clarity! But we who lived in the belly of the beast had no such accommodations. What led us to confront this dilemma took a huge turn in the middle of the 20th century when Hitler came into the picture. The tyranny that was unfolding did not hesitate in expressing its cruelty in pursuing its objectives. Although much is said about the Jews and the holocaust and the shame of that aspect in our human character, overall, there was something else that my mother alerted me to. The first victims of Hitler were not the Jews. The first victims of mass murder were Africans. Africans who had come at the end of the First World War under the French – the Senegalese troops in the foreign service of France.

The fact that the governance of the Rhineland was ministered by Senegalese soldiers – under the French government – was considered, by Hitler, to be the greatest insult ever committed against Germany. So, when he came into absolute power, his first mass murders were hundreds and hundreds of Rhineland Africans. Mass graves. And in extinguishing a group, he proclaimed that there would be no further contamination of the pure race. And while the was some question of race – should we fight the white men’s war? It changed in complexity when we learned that Africans were the first victims. So we made a choice – those of us who engaged in that war – not just to escape poverty and have a place were I could make a living and have organization to thought, but because I saw my life intrinsically woven in the mission to end him and his philosophy of those who thought like him. And my mother said, you belong in that war, you belong in that struggle. And I was encouraged, at the age of 17, to volunteer. And the propaganda that flew around about democracy and liberation and the future and that there will never be a superior race, all those things, were beaten into our heads and we believed it.

If we can defeat fascism and come back to the generosity of victory apartheid in America would end and there’d be no laws that denied us the right to vote. We’d no longer be separated, we’d have access. It would be a level playing field. And at the same time, we would engage in that war from America. We looked around, we saw Africans engaged in the war, inscripted by the democracies; England, France, the Dutch. We looked around and saw Asians engaged in the war; Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines. We looked around and found people from the Caribbean engaged in that war. And although we might have had different stories to tell about that war what was common to most of us was that this was our moment to ensure freedom and democracy for ourselves. And at the end of the war, non who returned as part of a victorious campaign saw any generosity from our slave masters and those who oppressed us. As a matter of fact, murder and mayhem was escalated. Black people were being hung by the thousand in the south of America and the world knew nothing about it because the instrument of communication suppressed that information. And as a matter of fact, relegated us to something else altogether. And when the Africans came back with their hopes and aspirations they were also relegated back to the most brutal aspects of colonial oppression. And those of us who had this taste for this idea, had a choice to make. Capitulate to this tyranny, or engage it and fight it, and most of us opted for the latter.

So, we just took care of business – let’s get it on. And most of us thought in fighting terms. I know how to use a gun I’ve been trained to be a murderer, a killer. And we became very expert at it, and so did a bunch of Africans, and so did a bunch of Vietnamese, and so did a whole bunch of other people that had that same thing in mind. And before I knew it these wars of rebellion emerged in the continent of Africa was aflame with a passion for freedom. And in parallel, us in America, and in parallel the ambitions in the Caribbean, and in parallel the people in Asia. And we found a common purpose and a common identity, and we began to re-enforce each other in how we defined each other because the master put us in every level of degradation and defined us in ways that would perpetuate his superiority.

…looking at the extension of that bondage into where we sit today, all of us. The largest prison population in the world in any country is in the United States of America. Two and a half million people anguish in the prisons of that nation more than in China, which is seven times larger than we are. Larger than in India. As a matter of public policy, we build more prison cells than we build school rooms. We build more prison cells than we build health-care centers. And in than prison population of America, seventy percent of those incarcerated are Black. And of all those who are incarcerated, a total percentage are people of colour; Latinos, Asians, Blacks.

And in that context, if you look closely at the whole science of criminality, all those people in prison, only 7% are murderers, 7% are rapists. Everybody else serving major time in America are people who got caught in the abyss of poverty and had to go to the criminal design to extricate themselves from it. And we can’t wait to build more prisons instead of using the resources to change and prevent this, we’ve decided to build prisons. And in building those prisons, as a capitalist country, we’re now turning it over to the private sector. And the private sector, being a capitalist country, nobody gets engaged in real estate and got a whole bunch of rooms and doesn’t look for full occupancy! Full occupancy, we got some tenants coming! And as we look around the tenants that are filling up the prisons, there’s a whole bunch of Jamaicans, there’s a whole bunch of Haitians, there’s a whole bunch of people from Nicaragua and from Honduras and from Brazil. A whole lot of people coming from Asia, and our system is saying something to us. Who controls the information chain? Who does what to somebody at the end of all of this to move us to a new paradigm, to a new thought?

What’s the game here? I go up to my room and rush to see the television to see what’s going on, I’m focused to a very narrow place. I’m really interested in what’s going on in America ‘cause nothing terribly African is happening that grabs my interest or holds my attention – certainly nothing that I haven’t already engaged in or heard about in the media. I know Lindiwe Mabuza, we talk heavy stuff, and we knew the power of our culture and our resource and our people. I sang and put the platform before Miriam Makeba. And while others tried to mute her voice and re-direct her into becoming the great African jazz singer as she tried to sing the songs of black America, I said, no.

What we need is the voice of Africa. We got Ella Fitzgerald, we got all kinds of people to do this, we have the originators of it and none of them can sing Zulu. None of them can sing Xhosa, none of them can describe apartheid. My platform and the power that it carries is for you to seize it – I will guide you, I will infuse you with resources, sing your songs! And then along came Hugh Masekela and I heard his trumpet, and I saw little rascal self trying to wrestle with this new place and I said, ‘put your buns in school, in the school of music. Learn the scales, get into the heart of it because I don’t need a Miles Davis or that Zulu sound. How does it come through that trumpet?’ And before you knew it he was engaged in the Africa sound, and he was highly unique. And then I watched a young lady who came with her husbands, her name was Letta Mbuli. And there was Caiphus Semenya – young rascals full of talent. And I said, ‘ you know, this platform is big enough for you too. Let’s work on some songs’ And when we broke the machine of cultural conditioning, Miriam got a record contract. And when she was getting ready to sing I said, ‘let me use my international power.’

I am central to the struggle in America, I sat in the inner-circle of strategy with doctor King, Ella Baker. I funded the first major student movement and all the people that were in that. I said, ‘I’ll fund all the resources, speak your peace, don’t compromise. Don’t compromise yourself to the church, do it!’ And so we said that the first thing to do was to get her voice to places that had never heard it before, so we did an album. So I struggled through my Swahili, I struggled through my Xhosa, but it became a huge hit. Her first Grammy and our first Grammy, for what it was worth, was that album. Everywhere we went after that; London, Paris, Rome, it was a Miriam Makeba, south African thrill for the audience. And we were able to talk about apartheid, and boycott and sanctions. And the cultural armada that fell in place with that was invincible. There’s no way that South Africa can write its history without paying serious homage to its artist and the power of culture. So when I come here, as a witness to the evolution, I’m interested to what you’ve done to your artist. I don’t know, looking at that thing, what’s that thing, housewives, something housewives – the problems of bourgeois white women in the US compelling black Africans to pay attention. Come on people! What was this revolution about? Coz each time… Coz when I first got into this game, Liberia and Ethiopia were the only countries that could call themselves independent sovereign states, everything else was a colony. And I was there when Nkwane Nkrumah, at Lincoln university… (tape change)

(tape change) …heady with the sense of invincibility. Where are we now in this part of our evolution in the 21st century? All of those nations have become so dismantled. What game do we play with the enemy? Why are so many societies overthrown? Why are our children with AK 47’s, shooting one another in Sierra Leone? What are we doing in the Sudan? How comfortable are we with this disaster that has enabled us to overthrow our shackles to make a vanguard difference in what people know so that they know what to do?! And if you crush the artists and don’t give them access, and give them the right to speak in the way only they can, then you’re writing your own epitaph!

I’ve learned a lot and I’ve said very little ‘till this moment and I’m through saying what I got to say, I cud stand here forever. But I’m privy to so much, and most of my time now, in my engagement in the US, is deeply in the heart and in the business of the young, and mostly in prisons of that nation. I work with thugs and gangsters all day. I go to their homes, I go into their solitary confinements – and we talk and we plot. And I tell them how they can use their prison experience to a higher purpose coz they never heard of what nelson Mandela did in Robben Island as a prisoner and as a terrorist and as a communist, and all the things that the media and the white folks called him. Only to find that at the end of the day he was the greatest moral force at the end of the 20th century and the world was inspired by him. Where is that legacy when I look up and see this SABC? And even more importantly, it’s not in Jamaica, its not in Kenya, it’s not in the Sudan!

We’re all suffering from some malady here and the contamination is at a critical place. We’re all caught, and we’re all responsible for the solution! And James, you’re absolutely right, that young lady who raised the question of reconciliation and where do we go with this, ‘cause you are an African, I know for a fact that until you’re liberated, I’m not! Until you can come to grips with the history, because my mission, is not to find reconciliation through the use of vengeance. What do you know and what has the system done to you that you know so little about what white folks really did? Because this bondage picture got in deep into the psyche, into the motives of what white people did into their own degradation, to their own loss, which permeates still today because the slave/master mentality is all over the place!

Now lets end by saying this, black people are in mass – and certainly in the US, we pray and hope that our children coming out of poverty will snatch a little piece of education, and get into the university and move on up the ladder to become somebody, and to have a role in the shaping of human affairs! Each time a black person achieves, we feel personal pride. And with that pride we have expectation that this new elite, this new force, will bring new messages and new design. More often than not those who have accessed this opportunity have failed us, have failed us considerably. ‘Cause those people who sit in truly high places have become the face of the enemy.

When in America, Collin Powell and Condoleezza Rice got to the place of power – we had never sat anywhere near there before those two in that country – it was so big a slice of the inside order. And when they dismissed us, and when they did not speak for us, we did what people always do when people achieve, we closed ranks as a tribe – don’t speak out, don’t speak against one another! And I bought that and I still see it. But when those people who achieve that power become critical in the instrument of my oppression, become a vote and a participant in lying to the people of the world so you can raise up in an immoral invasion of a people who did us no harm – and a black man stood at the head of that charge to lead it in front of the public forum in the UN it was time for somebody to say something!

And black people didn’t want to be critical of their own, and white people didn’t want to be politically incorrect! And in this place, since I’m who I am, I said, this is really serious. What part of this puzzle can I step in with. And because Collin Powell has a Jamaican heritage, we had some similarities. Because he was born in America and lived in the bronze, we have similarities. I was in Harlem. I lived in the Bronx too, I was a janitor, doing hallways and hauling garbage. And when it comes to global profile, I got my share of it.

So I said, I can’t wait for consensus. I don’t care who this disturbs, ‘Collin Powell, you’re a liar! Collin Powell, you serve your master well!’ And people said, master, what are you saying. I said, ‘Collin Powell serves the master well and the rest of us in the plantation are paying for it!. And then everybody got upset. Black people ran for the hills. And all of a sudden I became an untouchable. So I said, ok, if you’re distancing yourself from me, you think I’m contaminated. I said all you guys do when you wake up in the morning all you do is talk to your bank account, all you talk to is your agent. And when I wake up every morning and I talk to nelson Mandela, I’m talking to Lindiwe Mabuza, I’m talking to Fidel Castro, I’m talking to Hugo Chavez – I’m talking to a whole bunch of people that you can’t even equate yourself to coz you speak the masters language so well. What are you angry at Venezuela for, what the hell did they do to you? They kicked your oppressor in the bun, threw him out of the country and took over.

I’m not making a case for a personality. I don’t know whether Hugo Chavez will turn out to be the Mabuto or the Mandela of his people. But in the process, we have common cause; oppression! And if you got some oil brother and you can throw a few barrels my way, we can use it in this ghetto and build something and maybe get our own station because listen, you got Telesol, one of the most powerful satellites in the world. And you talk about afro-Venezuelan’s power and history and you’re stimulating that black voice, ok, I like that. I’m coming down to talk to you. And when I went down in the middle of Katrina coz our country failed – not just because of economic greed – it failed because it was black lives. They would never let that happen in Ireland. They’d never let that happen to the Swedish communities of Minnesota! Black people was the reason why we couldn’t find resources! And Condi running down there in her Armani dress and her fingers well done and saying, ‘oh, we are really concerned about those people. Those people, ok.

So when I went down to Venezuela I took 15 of us. I took a good number of ex-cons. I said, ‘we need all ark of ears here, to hear what’s being said ‘cause when they isolate me and call me a liar and a mis-carrier of info, you were in the room. And while I was standing on the platform, speaking to 8000 Venezuelan farmers, a large number, in the thousands, who were part of that crowd, I said, ‘I’ve come to just say that I am pleased to be here in Venezuela. To see your evolution being born, to see your choices being made. And I will tell you right now that no matter how they try to misinform, that in the USA, not thousands, not hundred thousands but millions are in step with your aspirations and your evolution. And no matter what the greatest tyrant in the world would say, G.W. Bush, most Americans are in your favour.

It took an hour and 12 minutes for that international press court to get the video on air and America wasted no time in the attack. I was all over CNN everywhere in the world, and the indignity of the people who said, ‘did u hear what he said about our president,?! Black people. ‘How dare he do that with our enemy.’ Well, first of all, how come he’s the enemy? You ain’t declared no war, no treaties have been broken. You just don’t like the guy coz he’s talking about socialism. You don’t like the guy coz he’s talking about re-ordering the economic divide. He’s talking about another method and you’re gonn’ kill him coz you have showed us you got the pathology to kill. You killed Kennedy, you killed Malcolm, you killed Dr. King, you killed Lumumba, you killed Allende. You kill a lot of people when they get in your way. So that’s expected, everybody’s got a bull’s-eye on him.

So when I came back and I was invited on their platform, Wolf Britz on CNN, primetime. I got on there and he says, ‘b4 we open this interview lets take a look at the backround to all of this.’ So they roll the tape. After that, the first question he asks me is, ‘would you like to take that back?’ and I paused 4 a moment and I said, well, I have to reflect on it, but not really. I said because, the way I may have misused the moment is that since I have not met every terrorist I really had no basis on which to call him the greatest. But until I’ve met them all, he is no.1 on my list. And that caused a whole bunch of stuff.

I’ve said enough. My question to this whole convention, this process, to those who say we are filmmakers… you know not everybody who’s got a camera is a filmmaker. And not everybody who claims to be a filmmaker, is an artist, and not everybody who is a filmmaker and an artist is committed to the rebel thought and to evolution and to living outside the box and provoking. But if you look at all those who have been the greatest in cinema, you will see them way above the fray. The artists, the technology, the information, the actors, the story. You saw them in battle for Algiers. You saw them in come back Africa – where I saw Miriam Makeba. You saw them in all of the movies that came out in early Italian renaissance; shoe shine and the eyes of a thief. And you saw this and you saw that, and you saw things all over the place. They are the guide to what the greater truth is about. And the enemy will not let you prevail. So while you’re hunting for how to get and stay in the room… (tape change)

(tape change)…but pay the rent at what price? Furthering the oppression? Furthering the slaughter of a child in Darfur? Furthering the oppression coz u got to make a living? In fact, why do you need so many millions of dollars? Why doesn’t you camera move in the strangest of places to do the most remarkable things? It’s a cop-out. It’s an excuse for your indifference, for your greed for your comfort! And so you don’t deal with that coz it’ll wrestle your conscience so you come up with all these excuses; it’s the master, it’s the system. ‘It’s the system’ means what?! It was the system under apartheid and you overthrew it! Where does the buck stop here?

I just wanna make one last not here to the young lady who was concerned about reconciliation. You see young lady, you can ask any question you like, but also ask the same to other white folks. And the last thing here is…ok…what was I gonna say…ok. Don’t give up the struggle, re-direct your energy in this field. Don’t leave it too long. Get to the real deal of the game, what is the current oppression saying and what are you doing about it?


Video On Demand Programme Evaluation Feedback

The Input 2008 Video on Demand library made programme evaluation sheets available for all delegates that visited the library. Delegates commented on programmes and films they had viewed. Here are the comments ….



Starck vs Starck

– Very good!



– Nice adventure to make it the other way round. Maybe it reveals who Starck really is. But      gets so pretentious that its getting boring. Definitely his toothbrush, toilet brushes and chairs are more interesting than his monologue.       


– I fear that Starck’s desire to do something fresh for himself reveals him to be a second rate philosopher – as he warned at the beginning he was. He does have some charm though. AS a documentary; certainly fresh and original, but he is not interesting enough to hold me for 50 minutes. English voice-over does not convince. Suggest that filmmaker is more interesting than his subject.



Fairytale of Katmandu

– Narrative treatment par to none. Very impressive.           


– Very well told and well produced. Interesting topic! Surprising story. Interesting character! The  filmmakers relationship with the character is also interesting.  


– Fantastic how the presenter uses her own surprise/shock in the story. How she admits her own neglect to speak to the boys at first and then go back. She makes the turn in the story, the story.

Great narrative work and very delicate reflections.



– Impossible to get distracted from. Very consistent and good.



Shoot The Messenger

– Long and slow. However, good.           



– Extraordinarily honest, unflinching. Look at the damage people can do to one another. Very disturbing; some hard-to-hear truths about ourselves (black people). Could be a useful learning tool for youths, especially black youth at risk and teenage girls.

Popularize this film.              



Not My Daughter

– I fully agree about the purpose of this piece, but I’ve also some questions: Why is it called documentary if it’s fiction?


Is the best way in the real utility of this piece, to make it in English? I can’t imagine people from Ghana watching this on TV. The language in the nation and small village is not the same as Eastern audience. Is it the same for Ghana/ African audience?    



– A subject that needs more attention. Great to see it from the mother’s perspective.



– A shot worth viewing on the basis of female emancipation from archaic perceptions of the traditional practices and roles in our culture.



The Cop, The Judge and The Murderer

– Amazing that these people let them film in all the moments. Astonishing insight. It’s exciting to watch.          



– Very exciting story, extraordinary access to everything. Great characters. Looking forward to episode 3. 


– Extraordinary access to police work.       



– Very interesting. The best police-series from real life.     


– I like it, the access is remarkable!        



– Excellent documentary series. Very surprising.           


– Extremely interesting to see the whole ‘naked’ investigation. First time I have seen such ‘close-up’ police work. Episode 1 was a bit more exciting than episode 2. But I will see the third as well!



Yakuza Money

– Well constructed and narrated. Very important issue, good job.

It would be interesting to learn how the filmmakers got into contact with the syndicate. Why did the syndicate trust the filmmaker? There is always a possibility that the information they got would leak to the police.



– Nice, stable production with very interesting subject matter. Could be interesting for acquisition.  



Please Vote for Me

– A fascinating though frightening insight into the lives of young Chinese kids and the influence of their parents. Competition and cruelty always seem close to the surface. Kids and parents are fast learners in the ‘dirty tricks’ election process. Bullying, manipulation, vote buying all feature. Has the owe guild policy produced a generation of monsters with parents determined to teach their child that ‘by whatever means possible’ is the only game in town? Less of a metaphor re democracy than an example of old brutalities in the ‘New china’? Is this democracy in action or a new generation using cultural revolution tactics on each other? Thanks for the productive film.

P.S. Could have done with a few more explanatory bits on the text. Who is Xiaofei’s carer, if not her mother?



– Great access to the characters. Funny, very relevant. It makes one think a lot.            



– Remarkable! ‘Democracy at school, a perfect wrong. The wolf introduced in the sheep loses. As far as some youngsters seem already to live been teached and learned a lot from cynical adults. Wonderful demonstration of living manipulation.       


Mountain Shadow

– Very powerful indeed. I am so glad I was able to see this. I am also shocked that this series was pulled by SABC and I hope it will be shown in the future. Thank you Input.  


– Interesting drama. Nice photography.



Magic Cellar

– Easy to understand for minor children – also visually. Very detailed visual site – good for series.          



– Extremely well crafted. Though provoking.   



– What can I say, just a murderer telling about his detachment. I’d rather heard about what he did.       



– Very touching. They should have been more information about his past.      


– Very touching. Interesting look into madness vs genius.                    


– Pretty interesting.



The Glow Of White Women

– Badly disappointing. Seemed very thin and with little analysis, stitched together with repetitive archive. Watched 20 minutes as already seemed to be repeating itself.

I was hoping for a thoughtful exploration but this did not seem to be what the film is was about.Great to have the chance to see it though.



– Great quality film. Great researching, archive footage. Good to see when the broadcaster creates the means that the quality shines through.    



– Would love to see screeners of the series. Please send me at: Link TV, 164 W.25th St#10 New York, NY 10001 (L.Hess) 


– On the Fernando Merielles mood, this fiction you can devour it is really easy and pleasant. I’m interested in the feature of this kind of action series. Out of the studio..



– Well done! I want to see more episodes.



– A new approach to this well known piece of work. A convincing mind. Genius.                        


– The film is very beautiful. There are lots of fine views. It’s easy to see that you love music. I’m just wondering why so typical choices: Australia-Summer; Finland –Winter. But however as a form, I like winter.



Last Man Standing

– Really intriguing to see how out of place the foreigners are on the natives turf.



– Entertaining, very typical reality show, but it’s nice with the cultural parts and the beautiful nature. It’s cool that it’s different people with different strengths and skills. Some of the material is boring and unnecessary like the ‘line dance’ and you just sit and wait for the highlights; the fights. But it has some good and entertaining parts like when one of the guys stole the food, and of course the stick fights etc. It’s pretty sick that someone wants to join a program like this and I couldn’t imagine joining myself. My overall meaning is that this show is funny and entertaining (some of it) but it’s too much talking, and it needs more action, some of the film can be cut out, but you don’t stop watching because you want to see the end.

P.S. The cameras were moving during the fights and then it was difficult to follow on the screen and you couldn’t see what happened sometimes.



– Absolutely brilliant. Beautifully shot and made.           


A Prime Minister- 10Years Behind The Scenes 

– Very good preoccupancy. Aside to see an almost honest prime minister. An excellent glimpse of what’s behind the scenes. Great interview.



– It was a good, honest documentary and I would recommend it.     


Badly Drawn Roy

– Very funny – would love to get a screener; Possible broadcast on: Link TV, 164 W.25th St, #10 New York, NY 10001 USA       



– Great production style and comedy. Love the mockumentary angle.




– Tight concept and maintained build up character. The freedom to express the art form of graffiti to be recognized and known. Props! Word up!



– The ‘Whole Journey’ of a young traveler towards discovering a sense of purpose and dignity. Tight. Complete.



– Congratulations! Until now the best film I saw at Input 2008.



Plan B

– Very interesting coaching format. Reality shows can find a symbolic service purpose in these cases.      



– I would love to get a screener sent to me in NY –  Very interested for Link TV, 164 W.25th St, #10 New York NY 10001, USA.




 – I imagined it was another kind of program. Didn’t view until the end.        


– Brilliant. Excellent use of silence. Great material and convincing actors. Beautifully crafted story. 


Two Men, Twelve Drawings

 – Please be kind enough to send me a screener in NY. Thanks! lhess@linktv.org   


– This documentary follows two men on their work as mp or spokesperson but stays a little superficial. We don’t really learn a lot about their backgrounds and their content differences. It portrays, especially Hlukani as if he is the more exotic kind. It’s how about these men deal with with the media and image forming, not what they reach or how they influence the debate in Denmark. Maybe known to people these, not to others.


A Son’ s Sacrifice

 – Interesting approach bout how to deal between different cultures. However at the end, only one makes the sacrifice. That helps the film, but it helps the integration too.



– Excellent. Loved It. Great characters.



– Highly …., but what kind of audience is this for?



– Hilarious and to the point.


 Don’t Say A Word

– Interesting feature. It allows different cultures. In which kind of audience is it..?



– Beautiful film, compelling, gripping, great cinematography.


  Scandinavian Beauty

– Hilarious



Mississippi Cold Case

– A great experience of a very classic documentary. You don’t very often see stuff like this. There’s a man with a target, a man with an extraordinarily good story and a director with a rare talent of telling story right away. It’s obvious that the editor was blessed with luck and a fantastic menu.



– It had it all – passion – history and emotions.



–  I learn to live with the ugly and shaking pictures because because the story is so strong. It tells us once again that real life and things happening right now always will stay above fiction and documentaries with pictures not made on the spot.



The News Killing Field

– Interesting; artsy angle.



– The Black Man In Seelisburg



– Brilliant way to portray prejudice.      


News War: What’s Happening To The News

– Solid production and great subject.



The Pilots

– Interesting concept. Confusing in a good way.




– Interesting subject. Good casting. A bit too traditional.



To See If I’m Smiling 

– This is a collection of interviews (very interesting) but illustrated. Where is the structure?



The Big Donor Show




– Interesting. But I didn’t like the split screen that much. 



Black Like Me

– Interesting experiment


The Sinking Village

– Interesting look into ordinary lives facing a personal catastrophe.



Over The Hill

– Important subject.



Searching For Sandeep

– Good characters and treatment




Great comedy!



Ranzco – The Pursuit of Happiness

– Great. Beautiful film!



 The Bodybuilder and I

– Really good and interesting, and a bit touching too. Well done!



The Secret In The Satchel

Great film. Interesting, innovative way to mix different narratives and languages. I like the way comic resources are so used in the film.



Clickers – Flying

 I love the way it’s made like the iphone.



Chakia and Sneakers

– Don’t like the presenter’s narration. Don’t make it richer v.o. says it all. I hoped I would surprise me more but it didn’t.



Iron Ladies of Liberia

– The filmmaker has unique access to a new prime minister and provides some fascinating insights into the day to day running of a country.







woza warsaw

Input Board member, Hans Hernborn, says INPUT 2008 was hugely successful with vibrant discussions in the viewing rooms.

“The heart of Input is always the discussions which happen in the screening rooms. This year the analysis, discussions and different perspectives shared was very rich.’

Hernborn, who is the treasurer and representative of the Nordic Nations, says the sessions were well prepared, the technical equipment was excellent and the venue was effective.

“On the whole, Im positive about Input 2008.”

Hernborn says there are many things the Organisation learned from the Joburg Input experience.

“We have to sharpen our selection of programs which in turn will sharpen the discussions”

Hernborn says all African delegates should feel invited to Warsaw in Poland, the first Input to happen in Eastern Europe.

input in pix

We have to make Africans believe in ourselves before we can expect the world to believe in us. Former president of the Republic of Mozambique, H.E. Joaquim Chissano (above) giving the keynote address at Input2008 on opening night 4 May.

Below…and the registration carries on… 

As from 7 May Input 2008 Joburg opens free registration for all industry and interested people…

below: who’s got the mic at input2008…

Below: Harry Belafonte and James Early (right back) arrive at the Input 2008 Opening night as guests… Harry Belafonte will deliver the keynote address at tonight’s launch of the Human Bondage Project…

input…from behind the desk

submitted by President Phaphama

Apparently in the beginning was the word. The word was with input and the word was Early.

Input. I vibrate this word repeatedly, and all these other captivating words gatecrash my mental space almost zealously. I am talking words like contribute, engage, create, bla di bla…

I walk into the famed Sandton Convention Centre thinking this word. And being part of the Input team, the word has more than one meaning to me. I am here as a service provider, and I am also here as eyes and ears to look and hear out for future prospects in delivering more and more service in the realms of broadcasting.

Stationed at the Information desk, I get to see faces in all shapes and texture. On these faces are enquiring eyes in search of information on this and that. They ask me questions because they expect me to know. These faces belong to filmmakers and people who invest in filmmaking. Their questions are intended for an administrator, at least that is what my false ego thinks.  

As an up and coming filmmaker and aspiring television maker, my false ego feels misplaced behind the information desk. Fortunately this misidentification of responsibility has a very short span. The angelic sight and divine voice of Mr James Early in front of me comes early enough to kill my already bruised false ego, allowing it to re-incarnate back to the cradle of sense and logic.

His words double click on my narrow frustration, and immediately my frame expands. Mr James Early instantly fills my half empty or half full heart with words bigger than wisdom. He reminds me that I don’t need a camera to be on par with my purpose. That I can still add my flavor to life from behind the information desk. When he tells me to enjoy I am immediately reminded of what has been lacking in my space. Fun.

 Where has this man been? Who sent him? Who is he?

I google on the net for James Early and I am introduced to a brother of sense and a father of purpose. I like him. He rocks. His input in my life has given me a completely different view of the festival. I no longer see the information desk as an inhibition to creating everlasting moments. And I no longer compare Input 2008 to Sithengi or the Soccer World Cup. I now relate with Input 2008 as what it is and where it is. Right now, in my heart and mind there are only two places in the world, the Sandton Convention Centre and everywhere else. Any relations with the James in the Holy Book?

*James Early will be speaking at the Launch of the Human Bondage Project tonight at Input 2008, 19h00-22h00, RED ROOM

A Place Called Home

Above: A Place Called Home which can be seen today:

Session: Don’t be a couch potato

Session Leader: Claudia Schreiner

09h00-13h00 in the RED ROOM


Director: Akin Omotoso

Producers: Robbie Thorpe, Akin Omotoso & Kgomotso Matsunyane

Entered by: T.O.M. Pictures

Script Writer: Zamo Mkhwanazi

Camera : Eran Tahor

Editor: Leon Retief



T.O.M. Pictures

PostNet Suite 22

Private Bag X9

Melville, 2109


South Africa

Tel: +27 11 482 3972


Don’t be a couch Potato also includes the following films (p31 of the Catalogue)


The Truth About Marika

The Sinking Village

Bad Vibe



Australian Indigenous Filmmakers take control of their stories


Above: From My Bed Your Bed (see below for more)



Session Leader:            Graeme Isaac – Australian National Coordinator

In Australia over the last 15 years an Indigenous production sector has sprung up as if from no-where to challenge the way that Australians think about their country and it’s past. It has also produced work that has been screening and winning international awards at major festivals such as Berlin, Cannes, and Sundance.

The film makers and their programs will be introduced by South African broadcasters and independents, looking to draw out the many issues that may also be of local relevance – the politics of representation, dealing with a contested history, the question of mainstreaming vs. servicing minority audiences, and the question of who speaks for whom. This will be investigated with regards to the content, aesthetics and narratives of the films themselves – how do these films begin to complicate representations of Aboriginal people.

Through discussion of the programs the session will examine the targeted workshop and development program that has been used in Australia to fast track the development of Indigenous film and television talent. It will also look at the partnership between a funding body (the Indigenous Branch of the Australian Film Commission) and the Australian public broadcasters that has brought this new Indigenous work to a wide audience.


Episode 1 – 70 min (the remainder of the series is 6 x 1 hour)

Directors:                      Rachel Perkins & Beck Cole

Producer / Presenter:     Darren Dale

Shop Steward:                Angie Mills

Produced by some of Australia’s finest Aboriginal filmmakers, this critical series chronicles the birth of a country and the collision of two worlds. It is an epic story that comes alive through the struggles of individuals, both black and white. Beautifully filmed, the series melds landscape, art, interviews and first-hand accounts with a vast archival collection to present the birth of contemporary Australia as never seen before, from the perspective of its first people—the first Australians. The series is independently produced and pre-sold to an Australian Public Broadcaster and to ITVS in the US. 




26 min

Director / Presenter:      Warwick Thornton

Shop Steward:                Pat Van Heerden




DJ Kenny works the night shift in a remote area radio station in Central Australia, hosting a program for a local prison audience and their friends and relatives. The night takes an eerie turn as a succession of elderly visitors appear, equipment breaks down and domestic violence intrudes. In a film full of suspense, humor and insight, set against a background of posters and music of Aboriginal pride and protest, we observe Kenny’s feelings of helplessness as he attempts to hold his small nocturnal community together. 

(GREEN BUSH premiered at Sundance and won Best Short Film in the Panorama section at Berlin International Film Festival)


16 min

Director / Presenter:      Erica Glynn

Shop Steward:                Graeme Isaac

A tender portrait of a young couple embarking on an arranged marriage in a remote desert community. The young newlyweds appear to be fond of each other but attempts to achieve sexual intimacy are fraught with reticence and impatience captured by intimate and carefully framed cinematography. 

(MY BED YOUR BED was part of a short drama series that grew out of a development program sponsored by a national  funding body and two public broadcasters, and which contained films that screened in competition at Cannes, Berlin, and Clermont-Ferrand.) 


26 min

Director / Presenter:      Erica Glynn

Shop Steward:                Rehad Desai

In this simple but intimate observational documentary two senior traditional healers, Ngangkari, go about their work – calmly return lost spirits to ailing patients, checking on the quality of their community’s food available at the local community store, consulting in the community’s medical clinic along with white doctors, and worrying that the effects of marijuana smoking and petrol sniffing may be beyond their curative powers.

(Whilst NGANGKARI screened on national television and at international festivals, it was also produced for broadcast on a remote area network broadcasting to remote Indigenous communities, representing another whole level of the Indigenous television industry in Australia).