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From Zimbabwe to Santa Fe

From Zimbabwe to Santa Fe
In stark contrast to the many African documentaries about cultural implosions and displacements resulting from war, poverty and disease, ?From Zimbabwe to Santa Fe? is a celebratory story about three uniquely appealing Zimbabwean women and their rural communities where no one considers themselves victims of one of the world?s harshest dictatorships. Rather, these women push beyond their obvious limitations, illustrating the resilient Zimbabwean personality, ever determined to improve their quality of life.

What happens when Matron, Gogo and Sindiso attempt to connect with the global marketplace in search of economic opportunity? What are the long-term personal and communal impacts of venturing onto an international stage? ?From Zimbabwe to Santa Fe? (?ZIM2sf?s?), a one-hour character-driven documentary tells this story by following the day-to-day lives of traditional basketmakers represented by three generations from two distinctly different Zimbabwean villages an over eighteen-month period. The women?s journey takes them beyond their traditional communities, outside their country, then brings them home to share wealth and knowledge (maybe).

Themes : The universal desire to improve one?s family?s circumstances is ZIM2sf?s primary theme. Secondary themes include how each culture defines satisfaction/happiness/success differently, how risk-taking is often necessary to achieve goals and how who or what we take for granted may be our most valuable resource.

Story : Early 2009: With Zimbabwe?s political/economic system in shambles, Zimbabwean Jane Parsons tells several NGOs working with isolated villages that the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market (?SFIFAM?) is looking for new vendors to come to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2010 for the two day market. The opportunity to make good money motivates the basketmakers of Siansendu and Masendu to apply to SFIFAM even though only 25% of the applicants are chosen as SFIFAM vendors.

The diffident Matron leads the Siansendu basketmakers with an iron fist. In her early twenties, she?s the story?s most complicated character, the archetypal ?bad girl with attitude and big dreams.? Across the country in Masendu, Gogo, the master basketmaker, respected elder, and cultural guardian serves as the story?s sage. Widowed early, she supported her children and now supports her grandchildren by bartering her baskets for food. Sindiso, the cheery middle-aged mother whose husband is a domestic worker in South Africa, lives an orderly life on her homestead with two of her three sons. She speaks a little English and is favored by the village hierarchy so she?s chosen as Gogo?s traveling companion and interpreter. The story?s timeline and filming runs May 2009-December 2010. Both villages were accepted by SFIFAM with the women preparing to attend the 2010 market in July.

Style & Approach : ZIM2sf?s unprecedented access to Masendu and Siansendu gives the audience a rare opportunity to share every detail of the basketmakers? journey and lessons learned - emotional, intellectual, financial and physical. The relentless succession of unanticipated challenges along the road guarantees a compelling and suspenseful story arc. The small intimate moments captured throughout the journey add sparkle to the women?s tale of optimism.

The story is told from the basketmakers? point of view using cinema v?rit?. The audience lives with the characters, hears their thoughts, feels the authentic rhythms of village life, learns how baskets are made and watches time pass as the seasons change while the women plant, tend and harvest their crops. The months between the story?s major milestones are filled with daily activities dictated by the seasons. The unadorned but elegant cinematography leads the audience through the alluring simplicity of Zimbabwe?s physical world into the private material world of each character?s homestead.

In the end, ZIM2sf strives to tell Matron?s, Gogo?s and Sindiso?s story in a way that will help the audience identify with the people of Siansendu and Masendu as their neighbors, people just like themselves, simply striving for economic security with the resources at hand.

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SKU SKU17580
 
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