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Dur: 1 x 90mins or 2 x 45mins
Style: The nature of the expedition required a long-term participatory approach and a high filming ratio. Therefore the documentary was shot by a tight-knit digital video crew that was a part of the expedition and documented it in its entirety starting with the preparation stages and finishing with their arrival at the Mediterranean sea.
The film(s) was generally shot hand-held in natural light due to the restrictive nature of filming on the expedition. This will be used to portray the key moments of the expedition’s trials and tribulations. Tripod shots will be used for narrative sequences where the film(s) moves away from the expedition and onto broader issues effecting The Nile and her peoples. Therefore the expedition coverage will have an actuality, cinema verite style which will be combined with far more refined narrative sequences. Through this approach, the expedition will be used as a thread to tell the stories of the river.
Music will comprise of composed, library and locally sourced material from the regions that the expedition passes through. The music genres will complement the film(s) as they travel from East Africa, through Sub-Saharan Africa and onto Egypt.
Treatment: The documentary film(s) will follow the expedition linearly as the team members prepared for their trip, set off on their journey and travelled through Uganda, Sudan and Egypt. The documentary will cover a myriad of topics that will include the following:
The opening will include an historical look at the importance of The Nile and the race to find her source by explorers such as Speke and Livingstone. Ancient lands, old forts, temples and archaelogical sites will show remnants of a forgotten era and uncover remains of the old explorers’ legacies. A colourful history that stretches back over 6000 years and that is so inextricably linked to The Nile will be highlighted. This will include rare footage of the little visited northern Sudanese pyramids. The film(s) will also include a more recent examination of John Goddard’s expedition in the 1950s. Archive footage from past expeditions will also be used to show how the river has changed in the last fifty years.
The film(s) will give a rare opportunity to look at the peoples who live along The Nile including some of Africa’s most remote tribes, such as the marsh peoples of ‘The Sudd’ who live on floating papyrus islands in the world’s largest swamp, and the Mandari and Dinka tribes from southern Sudan. The film(s) will examine the differing cultures along the river and show how many of them have survived through war and drought with a continued dependence on The Nile. The film(s) will also follow the team as they meet tribal kings, soldiers, orphans and a myriad of people who live along The Nile.
The film(s) will show the opening up of countries along the river, such as Uganda, which has been struggling for seventeen years to overcome civil war against The Lord’s Resistance Army, and Sudan, which until now has been embroiled in the longest civil war in history which has killed over two million people.
The documentary will look at water management policies that have plagued The White Nile for decades, highlighting the issues surrounding the Nile Basin Treaty as well as debating the pros and cons of the current man-made structures on The Nile such as the Aswan High Dam, and future constructions such as the Jonglei Canal and the northern Sudan dam project.
Footage showing the expedition rafting down (and on occasion flipping in) some of the hardest white-water in the world, will be shown. Some of the rapids run have never-before been attempted. These challenges were intensified by the surrounding pools of hippos and crocodiles.
The film(s) will analyze the relationship between the team members as they try to cope with the inhospitable terrain and with living in such close quarters with each other for four and a half months. Leadership decisions were often brought to question by team members and group politics would become tense. The film(s) will also highlight the team’s successes and failures as they try to overcome language and cultural barriers to interact with people along the way.
We will show highly remote scenery that includes thick tropical jungle, vast swamps, war-zones, historical sites and deserts. This footage will include an abundance of wildlife that includes thousands of hippos and crocodiles and a myriad of exotic bird species. Amongst other african wildlife, herds of elephants were found roaming the banks of The Nile just a few feet from the expedition rafts. In short, the face of a disappearing Africa will be presented.