CLIENT World Health Organisation
COUNTRY Ghana / Burkina Faso
Directing & Filming
Women’s health is a big issue in the developing world, not only as a general problem, but also because of the extremely crucial role of women in every part of life. The situation in Africa was summarized in a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the beginning of 2012 under the name “Womens’s health in Africa”. To accompany the report the WHO decided to produce a documentary to highlight some of the issues and make the information of the report available with showing the effects of the problem with a lack of medical support for the health of women. The thirty minute documentary then should be used at conferences and made available online for the interested public.
The biggest issue with doing a documentary about women’s health in Africa is two-folded. First, the topic is extremely brought and one could start on almost every end and in every country in Africa. Second, telling a first of all negative story is something that has been done very often and might lead to a reflex of “Ah, just another story from Africa.” Telling a positive and very narrowed down story of one specific topic that would at the same time allow to shine a light on the other aspects of women’s health on a personal level became the driving idea for the development of the storyboard. At the same time the requirements from the WHO for this documentary were high to keep a lot of information of the report in the film as well.
For this part of the production our main role was to do the filming part of it as well as working with a first drafted script and developing it while in Ghana. While the final film “Mothers of Africa” would focus mainly on the theoretical information and bring interviews and personal stories as examples, our expertise with personal storytelling helped us choosing the right characters and take the time to make it possible to tell their stories. Luckily we had an amazing team at the WHO offices in Ghana that helped us with contacts and access to hospitals, schools and wherever else we needed to go for the filming.
The final film “Mothers of Africa”, edited by Kwame Lestrade, is shown at different conferences worldwide as well as to political leaders to shine a light on the situation of health care in Africa and raise awareness for the topic at key decision makers.
The second film “A Thin Line” that focusses on two women’s stories was edited with a more personal angle to give more space for the impact their survival had on their families and communities.