DENMARK, TANZANIA 32 MIN
Albinos in Tanzania don’t only fear the strong sun thatcan give them skin cancer, but they also fear society’s superstition concerningalbinos being seen as ghosts more than human beings.
JOSEFINE GERVANG HEIMBURGER
26-year-old Danish filmmaker. She is currently completing her MA in Intercultural Communication at Copenhagen Business School. At the same time she has worked as a producer and director assistant in the commercial company U ITCH I SCRATCH Production located in Copenhagen.
Josefine debuted with her first documentary, SHADOW FIGHTERS in 2015. A documentary that portrays the lives of albinos in Tanzania. In order to develop her skills as a director, she has taken part in film courses and seminars. She went to European Film College from 2010 to 2011 and has attended the course ‘The Personal Imagery’ at the Danish Film School.
Denmark is her home platform however traveling is big part of Josefine’s life. In 2009 she lived half a year in Kenya and Tanzania working as a volunteer. In 2013 she took a semester abroad in China, Beijing, where she studied Chinese culture and communication at Peking University. For Josefine traveling and engaging with other cultures is a way to gain new perspectives and experiences, which can lead to new film projects. She is interested in people not feeling accepted, recognized, loved or appreciated — people who feel that if they disappeared no one would notice.
- Fest - New Directors Film Festival in Espinho, Portugal 2015
- SPOT Festival Aarhus, Denmark 2015
- Ischia Film Festival Ischia, Italy 2015
- Zanzibar International Film Festival Zanzibar, Tanzania 2015
- Human Rights Film Festival of Barcelona, Spain 2015
- Document International Human Rights Documentary FF in Glasgow, UK 2015
- The Pineapple Underground Film Festival in Hong Kong, China 2015
- Grand OFF in Warsaw, Poland 2015
'Shadow Fighters' is a project that I have been working on since 2010. It all started when I was working as a volunteer in Tanzania for five months. I lived in a small village together with a local family and taught English, math and sport at the local elementary school. Even though my work on the school took most of my time, I got the opportunity to dig deeper in the society of Tanzania.
Many of you already know that there are a lot of topics to document in an African country as Tanzania – poverty, malaria, AIDS which are some of the common issues and of course also the lack of water and food. These topics do already have national and international awareness. We in the western part of the world already know about these issues and many organisations try to fight against it.
However, what many people are not aware of are that Africa and Tanzania have an issue that not even there own society wants to face. During my stay I realized that there were many albinos in Tanzania, and it made me wonder: Is albinism a common thing in Tanzania? Why do you see more albinos in Africa than Europe? And does the society accept them? Unfortunately I was too busy working so I could not go through with my search.
When I returned to Denmark I started further investigations through articles and I talked to different experts. However, European Film College gave me the opportunity to move the project to a while other level. I collected a crew that believed in the project as much as I and we started preparing for the shooting that took place in the Summer 2013.
During the preparations I quickly noticed that there had already been made several documentaries showing the African albinos from a very dramatic and violent perspective. The documentaries seemed to always put the albinos in the victim role, which made the audience feel sorry for them. What I missed from these documentaries was hope. I then realized that I wanted to make a documentary, where the audience should get a feeling of hope – hope for the future of the Tanzanian albinos. I wanted to show albinos who fight to change the society’s view, who fight to be seen as human beings in their everyday life. This is why my crew and I went to Tanzania to follow Abdul and Mashaka, the two main characters in 'Shadow Fighters'.
Short Competition 2016