The New Boats has been successful in its US tour with screenings in both the East and West Coasts. We started with a radio interview on KALW in San Francisco, an hour-long program discussing the International Ocean Film Festival and the “New Boats” official selection at the Festival.The film was then screened at The Fort Mason festival in San Francisco emerging as the highlight of the festival and the recipient of the Island and Coastal awards. The screening was well attended and was followed by a Q&A. The audience was very engaged during the screening of the film and it made for a robust Q&A session that included questions around actions plans around the issues raised in the film and questions around the Chinese presence in Sierra Leone. Some shared similar experiences from other countries and suggested community and international led movements to help mitigate. The award was presented on stage to Lansana Mansaray joined by the executive director of the International Ocean Film Festival. Following the screening of the film and presentation of the award there was positive media interest that led to major visibility of the film locally in Sierra Leone and internationally.
The film was also screened at a special Earth Day celebration hosted by The Africa Center in New York City. The screening was well attended. Many in the audience were African diaspora and friends of Sierra Leone who were inspired and motivated to take action by what they witnessed on film. Many have been away from Sierra Leone and the Continent for 20-30 years but this screening brought them closer to the realities of their motherland and it resulted in one of the longest Q&A sessions we have had since we began screening this film in festivals and communities.
The film was additionally nominated for Best Documentary film at the Sierra Leone Association of Artists/Musicians(SLAAM) hosted in Washington DC by the Sierra Leone Diaspora community. Additionally the film was also screened in private screenings around the US by friends and other charities.
In conclusion the film has had a successful international run and the US screenings were a major part of that international success. Right off the back of its US run, the film was also picked up by Kip Kompin Cinema a Sierra Leonean diaspora run creative theaters in London, UK.
We have developed an impact campaign that brings awareness to illegal fishing, forced migration, climate change, and the effects of industrial fishing affecting the artisanal fishing sector in Sierra Leone. We set out to complete the impact campaign with the following goals:
Enable communities to understand the causes of Fish Scarcity and the threats to food security
Empower the Fishermen Union with the tools and skills to document and report illegal activities in our waters and also set up a mobile community cinema in the Union’s office, for further screenings, community outreach, education and campaign purposes.
Inspire communities to take ownership Engage in a national discussion on the issues of climate change and illegal fishing. Ignite discussions around a sustainable future for the environment, Conservation, Biodiversity, marine and mangrove protection
Help communities to understand some of the threats that climate poses on Livelihoods. Understanding community adaptation and resilience mechanisms.
This impact campaign has allowed us to firstly train our screeners and facilitators and equip them with the ability to host community discussions and debates and educate community members on the issues. All facilitators including Lansana Mansaray-Director, Adenike Hamilton-Impact Producer, Wudie Backie Koroma- Public Relations Officer, Fisherman’s Consortium and Kabba Kargbo-Assistant Director attended the Generation Africa Impact training for Impact Campaigners.
After ensuring that all trainers were prepared to guide our audiences through the screenings and discussions, we developed and printed a screening discussion guide in different formats both screening cards and screening notebook that can be passed around to audiences and support in the facilitation of screenings. At each screening, a printed screening guide was given to each member of the audience. Please see the screening discussion guide attached.
With each screening, we hoped to target fishing communities in Sierra Leone that were affected by Industrial Fishing boats. We wanted the screenings to educate and empower the communities to be their own advocates against the effects of Industrial Fishing. Invited members present at screenings included members of the Fisherman's Consortium in Sierra Leone, Boat Owners Association members, MarketWomen’s Association, Religious and Traditional Leaders, students, teachers, and environmental and social club members.
Some of the significant reflections from the screenings are as follows:
Some of the main issues in which the film raises that were central to our discussion in Tombo, Peppeh Wharf, and Bonga Wharf communities were that of loss of livelihood in the artisanal fishing sector, as a result of the increase in industrial fishing, the community dissatisfaction with the industrial international fishing boats, especially Chinese fishing boats, the lack of respect for by the Chinese for local fishermen, drag net fishing and wastage on this big boats, the migration that has been happening in the community due to the changes in the fishing sector, husbands and sons leaving this fishing community for greener pastures which has led to much family separation. Other issues discussed include the changes in climate, and increased and more destructive rains affecting fishing vessels. They mentioned that the community was losing many boats due to heavy rainfall and different weather patterns. They also brought up the scarcity of fish. All in all this was a very spirited conversation by this community but one of the most important things that was seen during the discussion and throughout the screening was that this community was very much living through and aware of the issues raised, they knew the characters in the film personally because they were all from this community and truly empathize with the plight of the characters because many of them faced the same issues.
The main theme which arose at the Black Johnson Community is the issue of lack of government surveillance and oversight of International industrial fishing vessels and the illegal fishing activity they participate in. Another issue being raised in this screening is their disagreement with the building of the fishing harbor for industrial fishing boats in the Black Johnson community and what that would mean for those in the fishing industry in that community concerns were raised about how this issue has divide once united and peaceful community.
We are excited for our impact campaign and our screenings in the community. We are deeply grateful for your continued support.
We've had successful community screenings of New Boats documentary film in Tombo, Black Johnson and other coastal communities building a local movement, inspiring communities to take ownership and protect not just their livelihoods, but a critical food source that this country depends on.
We are currently in Geneva, the human rights capital of the world, for the 5th edition of Impact Days - International Festival and Forum on Human Rights.
On the 31st March we are thrilled to premier at Freetown City Council Auditorium. New Boats has been selected to screen at the International Ocean Film Festival in San Francisco and we've been asked to screen at the Africa Centre in New York on Earth Day, April 22nd with a Q&A. We are currently raising funds to travel and take the New Boats to San Francisco and New York.
We are extremely grateful for your continued support as we screen the New Boats to as many audiences as possible.
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