The Ogoni

Projet: 
En co-production

Un film de Frances Feeny. En coproduction avec l'Angleterre.

Nous racontons dans ce documentaire long-métrage l’histoire d’une terre dévastée par l’industrie pétrolière, ses habitants désarmés et condamnés à y vivre, et une poignée de militants passionnés se battant pour que justice soit faite.

La Famille Kpekee vit dans la ville de Bodo, située dans le Delta du Niger. Leurs ressources ont été empoisonnées par l'exploitation du pétrole, rendant l'air et l'eau impropres à la consommation. Les maladies se répandent, et les cérémonies d’enterrement sont devenues la principale activité sociale. Dans cet environnement toxique, un assistant social tente d’apaiser les conflits causés par l’implantation de l’industrie pétrolière, tandis qu’un groupe d’activistes environnementaux se bat pour ses droits, ainsi que pour la libération d’un important emblème : un bus d’acier, aujourd’hui saisi par les autorités nigériennes.

L'Auteur et Réalisatrice - Frances Feeny

Avec à mon actif 25 ans d'expérience en production musicale, l'attention aux détails, la préparation méticuleuse, la recherche et les vérifications en termes de choix artistiques n'ont plus de secrets pour moi. Cela fait maintenant 3 ans que j'écris des documentaires et que je prépare des projets multi-médias. Durant cette période, j'ai dû apprendre à comprendre et à maîtriser le processus de réflexion requis pour la realisation de films. J'ai écrit, pensé, échangé des idées et observé. A l'achèvement de chacun de ces projets, je comprenais de mieux en mieux la manière dont on passe d'une idée à sa concrétisation en une narration audio-visuelle de 52 ou 90 minutes.

Je m'appuierai aussi sur l'énorme talent et l'expérience du réalisateur et cadreur, Théo Sixou, avec qui je collaborerai étroitement durant la réalisation de ce film. Les nombreuses heures de discussions entre Théo et moi et le résultat des deux premiers tournages ne m'ont laissé aucun doute quant à la force visuelle et émotionnelle, imposée par l'importance du sujet, dont fera preuve “The Ogoni”.

Crédits

Catégorie: 
Long-métrage
Autre pays coproducteur: 
Angleterre
The Ogoni
The Ogoni
The Ogoni

Entretien

Frances Feeny
Can you describe the creative approach of the feature documentary?
Underlying the story of the Kpekpee family, we find a large metal sculpture, the Ken Saro-Wiwa memorial bus, which was at the origin of the film. In actual fact we do not find it, at least not for the time being, as it has been impounded by the Nigerian authorities having been deemed a « threat to national security ». It’s role is now played by its absence. As the activists attempt to put pressure on the authorities to release the bus, or when we see them at work in the community, the viewer will discover the the reasons for the barren and lifeless state of the land which the Kpekpee family live on. The finger is clearly pointed at the Petrolium industry, and in our case, at Shell. This information will provide not only the historical and political back-drop to the story, but will serve as a structure upon which the family’s story reposes. We will feel the industry’s omnipresence through glimpses of gas flares or oil spills. This shadow will be represented in the same way that we sensed it on our first shoot; dark and sinister, but not always visible. I wish to paint an immersive and sensory picture of every day life in Ogoniland and convey, as closely as possible, the thick and heavy atmosphere which reigns over the Niger Delta. As an outsider arriving for the first time four months ago, the weight of getting through daily tasks in a toxic environment was immediately apparent. It is important that this burden is expressed through the voices and actions of the people who live there. ! « The Ogoni » is above all a film about the inhabitants of the town of Bodo. Yes, it is a film which supports a cause, but it is not in itself. a cause. The lives of our protagonists illustrate clearly the hardship they endure. The intimate relationship between the camera and our characters, the images of their daily reality, speak to the senses of the viewer far more articulately than any facts, figures or cold data. As far as is possible, we will avoid interviews. The rich, evocative photographic style will draw the viewer, almost organically, in to the challenges and the achievements of the Kpekpee family and the activists. If I could find a way for the audience to breathe in the Niger Delta air, this is what I would do. This closeness between the subject and the camera was at the forefront of my mind in the weeks leading up to the departure for our first shoot in September. While we were getting to know the Kprekpee family I explored the different ways which we were, and sometimes were not, able to create this intimacy. The three members of the family, whom we meet in the teaser, are uncommonly charismatic, and I feel incredibly lucky to have met them. I was struck by the fact that I learned more about the family when they were speaking in Ogoni among themselves, than when they were talking to me. It required extra work, of course, but there was more truth in the result and a far greater insight into the relationship between the different members which is crucial to the manner in which I want the viewer to relate to them. One meal in particular springs to mind, which, when logging the rushes, the naturalness of the scene drew me in so deeply I could almost taste the garri which the family had prepared for dinner. Moments such as this are what I aspire to for this film and illustrate the kind of realism which, I believe, helps to bring humans closer to one another and favour what we have in common over our differences. !

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