In Zimbabwe in 2009, a story of heroic proportions began to unfold. Under the stranglehold of Mugabe's dictatorship two men from opposing sides were given a herculean task - to form a new democratic constitution for their embattled country. Director Camilla Neilsson gained astonishing access to follow these radically opposed men in the three year process. The result is a film of high drama, fortitude, violence and ultimate transformation.
Paul Mangwana, from Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF and Douglas Mwonzora, from the opposition party MDC are charged with shaping a new constitution. Diametrically opposed, their relationship often seems to mimic that of their parties but they must work together if they are to create any real, lasting change. It is the personal battle between the pair that becomes the backbone of the film. Each man's desire to see the job through is tested to the absolute limit despite Mugabe's enforcers attempts time and again to exert control over the process.
Democrats highlights the power of grass roots relationships despite the extraordinary and corrupt political game being played out. The gripping final moments unfold in a way that neither the director nor her main subjects could ever have foreseen.
What the audience said
'Very moving - relation between the two men, particularly, and also heartbreaking. I'm from Zimbabwe and have been involved in what's happening there for 13 years. And without anything achieved.'
'Excellent! One of the best docs I have seen in years. It is an extrordinary achievement. I loved the skype Q&A with the director. I'd have liked it to go on for longer. All in all - A great event! Thanks.'
'Great subject, engaging character, pure observatinal style and great transformation by main character. Can't help but admire the dedication of the filmmaker and funders.'
'This was careful and sensitive storytelling. A revealing portrait of Zimbabwe today.'
'Excellent documentary. Very, very pleased with opportunity of Q&A with director. Thank you!'
'Amazing! Really compelling portrait of the two chairs who drove the process forward. Really brought it alive compared to the news reporting. Bravo to the team who made it despite challenges. Keep doing what you're doing, every event I have been to has been great, Q&As are especially great for insight & updates on how the situation may have moved on. Thanks!'
WHERE CAN I SEE IT AGAIN?
Honourable Mention: DOX: AWARD, CPH: DOX
Official Selection: IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam)