Fleeing Africa’s Violence and Killing Fields
After being abducted from a marketplace as a child and forced to kill, Jose Maria Joao had a vision one night in a
Risking death, he acted on his conscience. The decision that came to him in his dream was to stop the fighting and killing.
And to do that he had to run away. Far, far away from the killing fields of violence and murder that he had anonymously become part of.
He shares his remarkable and tearful story in this short powerful biopic directed by Dave Meinert of MacDuff Films, which aims to foster a dialogue about the lasting effects of war.
Having worked as a bouncer at bars for the last ten or so years, Jose is a well-known face in Cape Town, South Africa.
“I’ve always been amazed how someone who has been exposed to so much violence can be so peaceful,” says Meinert, who wanted to tell Jose’s story as simply as he could.
Collaborating with filmmaker Michael Cleary, Meinart’s approach to making the film was an instinctive one. “We took a DSLR camera, one lens and a bulb from the hardware store, and switched the camera on. Stylistically, I was influenced by an older piece, but the rest needed to come from Jose as much as possible,” he says.
Upon handing everything over to Lucian Barnard to do the editing, Meinart gave him zero briefing.
“I didn’t know if we had a story in it yet. He devised the editing style purely on his own and I think it’s the strongest element to the piece.”
Tired of seeing narratives that glamorize war and fighting, Meinart believes filmmakers are responsible for the stories they tell.
“Jose’s story, coupled with his gentle nature and trademark smile, has made us weep many times and we are privileged that he’d share it with us,” he says.
“There’s maybe never been a more relevant time to start sharing stories about the real casualties of war. Please share his story.”
~Via MacDuff Films, 10 & 5, We Are Awesome,
Rising Continent, and Vimeo