Screens Friday, February 6 @ 7:05 PM
Edward Songo Conteh was an auto mechanic living happily with his family, until rebels amputated one of his arms during an attack on Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown in 1999. With the help of a philanthropist he learned photography to support his family of 11.
As thousands of amputees face neglect and discrimination 13 years after the war, Conteh uses his photography to document their lives to show they are still human. Conteh, 71, is currently president of the Sierra Leone amputee and war-wounded association, and is leading a campaign for the government to recognize and address various social problems affecting war amputees and their families in the country.
Produced and Directed: Solomon Moriba
Music: Weiwei Miao
Audio Post-Production: Michael Shade
Additional Music: SLV Peace Band
Production Assistants: Abdul Papani Kamara, Joseph M. Johnson Jr.
Executive Producer: Marcia Rock
Main Characters: Edward Songo Conteh, Mamusu Thoronka, Jabati Mambu
Supporting Characters: Tamba Ngaujah, Alhaji Lamin Jusu Jaka, Ishmael Daramy, Gibrilla Sesay, Daniel Mansaray, Emmanuel Kamara, Adikalie Bangura, Amara Kabba
Archival Footage: Amadu Tejanie Bah, Aroun Rashid Deen, SLASA, SCSL
Archival Photos: Edward Songo Conteh, Umaru Fofana, Peter C. Andersen
Additional Funding provided by: National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, New York, NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Alumni Association
Special Thanks to: James Berry, Prof. Kirsten Johnson, Prof. Jason Samuels, Prof. Shimon Dotan, Prof. David Spungen, Prof. Jane Stone, Prof. Cora Daniels, Prof. Joseph Peyronnin, Prof. Adrian Mihai, Prof. Toby Lee, The NewsDoc Class of 2014, Obi Buya-Kamara, Abdul M. Kamara, Masala Kromah, Christiana Moriba, Lucy Moriba, Jarieu Sandy, Betty Bassie
Living through the civil war years of 1991 to 2002 was a devastating experience for many Sierra Leoneans, as rebels fighting to overthrow the government indiscriminately killed, maimed and mutilated thousands of unarmed civilians in their campaign of terror.
While the violence is now behind us, it is difficult for the country to move forward without adequately addressing the situation of the many amputee survivors now facing serious consequences because of their disability.
As a young Sierra Leonean journalist who survived many rebel attacks during the war, I narrowly escaped amputation myself and was moved to make this film when in 2013 a friend of mine posted photos on social media of hundreds of amputees demonstrating for social justice.