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Documentary 'Democrats' explores Zimbabwe's quest for democracy

Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 01:57

The making of Zimbabwe's constitution is documented in the new film 'Democrats.' Alicia Powell reports.

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Two rivals attempt to bridge Zimbabwe's deep political divide by drafting a new constitution in the documentary "Democrats," which examines the nation's search for democracy. The film, which director Camilla Nielsson shot over three years, had its North American premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. SOUNDBITE: Camilla Nielsson, director, saying (English) "When a country has to write a new constitution it's almost like building a nation from scratch, and that's a huge task. And these two men that were appointed to lead the process had a serious job ahead of them and that always makes for a good film." Paul Mangwana, who is loyal to President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, and Douglas Mwonzora, of the opposing Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), share a passion for a constitution to take the nation toward democracy after 35 years of rule under one of Africa's most divisive figures. SOUNDBITE: Camilla Nielsson, director, saying (English) "Seeing these two men, how they worked together, how they kind of bridged the political divide in a very polarized political environment, I felt there was a lot of hope by the way that they bonded and the way they communicated. And how they navigated through this difficult task." In 2013, Mugabe won a fifth term as president in an election that was endorsed as free by African observers but denounced as fraudulent by the opposition. SOUNDBITE: Camilla Nielsson, director, saying (English) "I think the main thing I took away after three years of filming in Zimbabwe is that the political landscape is much more complex and much more nuanced than what is usually represented in Western media. One of the things that we don't realize in the West is that Mugabe still has a lot of support, he is still a hero to a very large group of people on the African continent. And so I hope that this film can contribute to representing a more nuanced picture of Zimbabwe. I hope so."

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Documentary 'Democrats' explores Zimbabwe's quest for democracy

Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 01:57