The ranks of the gangs that are sowing violence in Zinder, Niger, have swelled with the influx of the idle young, who unfortunately are prime candidates for emigration. Many come from Karakara, a neighbourhood built to corral lepers who have been shunned by health centres since before they were born – further, they have no official civil status and have been deprived of the right to education. Invisible to society until the day they rebelled, they attract the attention of ill-willed politicians and are easy prey for the terrorists who recruit in the surrounding areas. Lacking prospects, some sink into crime and wind up in prison; others smuggle petrol across the border into neighbouring Nigeria in order to survive. Director Aicha Macky, herself a Zinder native, has unique access to both active and former gang members. Through capturing their daily lives, she explores the origins of the radicalisation that is currently spreading in Zinder and Niger’s Sahel region.
Point du Jour - Les films du balibari (France)
Tabous production (Niger)
Corso films (Allemagne)
In 2004, I left my hometown of Zinder, Niger, to pursue university studies in Niamey, where I currently live. Since moving away, I have distanced myself from home; my returns are brief, with just enough time to visit with my family. Zinder seemed far away, and yet hideous, dishonourable echoes of reports reached me: group rapes, arranged brawls, armed robberies, crimes and trafficking of all kinds. For me, these subjects are befitting of horror films, having grown up in a peaceful space at the crossroads of the Sahel and the caravan route. Over the last ten years or so, hundreds of gangs have thrived, taking the law into their own hands. Their environment is a poor country whose resources are plundered by foreign firms; an extremely unstable region, one feature of which is terrorist activity on the borders of Algeria, Chad, Mali and Nigeria–just 100 kilometres from Zinder. I am returning to this town to better understand what is happening to it.
Born in Zinder, Niger, in 1982, Aicha Macky is a filmmaker and an activist for social change. Having trained as a sociologist, she turned to making documentary films. She completed a Master’s degree in Documentary Cinema at Gaston Berger University in Saint-Louis, Senegal. In 2016 she completed the multi-award-winning film The Fruitless Tree (L’Arbre sans fruit), a co-production of Les Films du balibari and Maggia Images, which addresses the delicate question of infertility. In 2017, she founded her own production company, Tabous Production, based in Niamey, Niger.
Clara Vuillermoz was born in Lons-le-Saunier, France, in 1982. After a year of studies in South Africa, she graduated from the Institute of Political Sciences of Lyon, then continued in cinema studies. She worked for Roche Productions from 2005 to 2006, and for Cocottesminute Productions from 2006 until 2015, before joining Les films du balibari (LFDB) to produce international creative documentary films. She became a partner in 2019. Vuillermoz is a 2014 Eurodoc graduate and a recipient of a 2019 Sundance Institute Documentary Fund Grant. In 2020, LFDB merged with the leading Paris-based company Point du Jour.
Creative Europe, Pays de la Loire Region, Auvergne Rhône-Alpes Region, SCAM Brouillon d’un rêve, Fondation AlterCiné, Hotdocs Blue Ice Fund, IDFA Bertha coproduction Fund, Sundance Documentary Fund, World cinema fund, Fonds Jeune creation francophone, Procirep-Angoa, CNC, GENERATION AFRICA program.
Broadcasters: ARTE, Al Jazeera Mena
March 2019 to March 2020, Zinder, Niger
Editing in process.
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