Unfortunately we ran out of time and didn't reach our goal. It is still possible to help us take the story of STOLEN and the issue of slavery to the world. Get involved and participate in STOLEN's campaign to end slavery.
You can start by visiting the following link:
We look forward to hearing from you and working together to bring about change for the better.
Dan Fallshaw and Violeta Ayala.
Feature Documentary / 78 minutes / Hassaniya, Spanish and English (subtitles available in English, Spanish, French and Polish)
Our StoryIn 2006 we went to the Polisario refugee camps in the Algerian desert to make a film about a family reunion, but everything changed when the black Saharawis revealed to us a forbidden secret. They're caught in a society where slavery is an institution, the same slavery that was thought to be abolished 200 years ago.
The story begins with Fetim, a black Saharawi who was taken from her mother as a toddler by Deido, a white-Arab woman. Thirty years later Fetim is reunited with her mother through a UN family reunion program.The reunion sparks a revolution amongst the black Saharawis who speak out against being slaves. Black children are taken away from their parents, people are beaten by 'white-Arab' masters, women are the sexual property of the master, they have their names changed, require liberation papers to be free and cant marry without the masters permission.
Leil - It's better not to have children. Because if you have children, they will take them away.
Fetim - Here we dont have rights! Here, we dont have any rights.
Matala - I want the black people of the Sahara to be free. To be able to hold our heads up, to demand freedom, to demand to be our own masters."
Tizlam - What we want is for slavery not to exist. It should be from the past, not the present or the future.
Salem - "If you see your parents being beaten. You cant do anything. If you get involved youre in trouble. No one will know what happened to you. Others tried to speak out before. They were arrested and tortured."
Mohammadoune - Slavery man to man is the saddest thing in the world and it exists here!
Saltana - Because Im black and different to them, they told me Im not worth the dirt on their shoes, that I was only born to be a slave to them.
Jueda - "When a man wants a black woman, he doesn't marry her. No! When he wants her, he fucks her.
Within the refugee camps there are 2 groups, those who call
white Arabs and make up 90% of the population, the other 10% are
descendants of black Africans stolen from sub-Saharan Africa. These
camps are controlled and administered by the Polisario Liberation Front.
From the moment the Polisario authorities realised we were filming material they didn't
like, they tried to stop us. They detained us and demanded we hand over our tapes; but luckily we'd already hidden them, hoping someone could smuggle them out later.
UN military officers and the Australian Embassy in Paris negotiated our release from Algeria; one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists and filmmakers. While trying to retrieve the tapes we were drawn into a political arm wrestle between the Polisario and Morocco. We had spies following us from country to country and in Morocco twenty hours of footage was stolen and swapped for blank tapes.
It took us three years to make STOLEN and when the film came out the
Polisario launched an extensive media campaign to silence the film;
they even brought Fetim to Sydney, Australia to say the film
was a lie. It felt like David vs Goliath.
We made a promise to the black people in the camps and Western Sahara that we'd take their story to the world. As the renowned anti-slavery campaigner Boubacar Mesoud said to Matala in STOLEN, "you have to speak out if you want the worlds help. Because we cant solve it just from here. Other people need to know." Matala did speak out and we're helping to get his message to the world, that the black people of the Sahara want to be free.
STOLEN has screened in more than 60 film festivals around the world, from the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival to the influential International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam, winning 12 awards along the way.
Pacy, exciting and hugely engrossing. VARIETY
"The cinematography is stunning, the characters are compelling, the
interviews are intimate and the story is as gripping as a good spy
Riveting stuff. THE TORONTO STAR
Stolen is a dramatic and complex exploration of modern slavery, not to mention a fascinating study of the perils of documentary filmmaking THE GLOBE AND MAIL
The ImpactThere are at least 2 million black people living in slavery in North Africa.
STOLEN is a thought provoking and hard-hitting film that addresses the taboo of slavery in North Africa. In 2008 Human Rights Watch published a report on the camps and Western Sahara. It revealed that slavery still affects the black minority in the Polisario refugee camps and Western Sahara, the report included a liberation paper signed by the Polisarios Ministry of Religious and Cultural Affairs. Nevertheless, most North African regimes including the Polisario refuse to acknowledge the existence of slavery, even the United Nations who monitor the camps refers to slavery as a cultural practice.
Something Fetim's mother said puts this in perspective. She asked "what do you call it when a child is taken away from its parents?"
"Kidnapping, a crime!"
She then asked "what do they call it when they took my daughter away from me, a black woman?" She answered herself. "A cultural practice!"
Our aim is to get STOLEN to reach a wider audience, the film's intention is to generate discussion about and attention to this ignored issue. We want slavery to be criminalised in every country in North Africa and legal action taken against the perpetrators. In the meantime, we want the families separated by slavery to be reunited.
We will organise charity screenings alongside a cinema release in the US in order to raise awareness of the problem and put pressure on international organisations such as the UN to take action.
How The Funds Will Be Used
STOLEN has had a very successful life on the international festival circuit, the next step is to bring the film to the the big screen. We will start with a cinema release in New York and LA that costs $18,000.
The film won $10,000 in prizes from the Africa International Film Festival in Nigeria and the Art of the Document in Poland. We need your help to pay the remaining $8,000.
The money earned from the box office in NY and LA will go towards organising a wider release around the world.
The Africa Channel has come forward to help and will promote STOLEN heavily on-air and online in the lead up to the cinema seasons.
Support For The Film
"I have carefully reviewed the film STOLEN with a view to assessing
whether it is reasonable to accept the assertions of the film... It is
my opinion that the film STOLEN portrays a situation of enslavement
within the refugee camps of the Western Sahara."
Dr. Kevin Bales - President, Free The Slaves
"Asim and I are of the opinion that the practices described in the
interviews are consistent with slavery as it is practised in
neighbouring Mauritania and that the interviewees are credible... It is
also a common practice for states to put pressure on victims to retract
Romana Cacchioli - Africa Programme Co-ordinator, Anti-Slavery International
'In sum, credible sources testified to HRW about vestiges of slavery
that continue to affect the lives of a portion of the black minority in
the Tindouf camps... The issue of slavery in the Tindouf camps deserves
closer scrutiny than Human Rights Watch has been able to undertake.
Eric Goldstein - Research Director in the Middle East and North Africa division, Human Rights Watch.
For more info on the film visit http://www.thetruthaboutstolen.com
Also Find STOLEN On
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About IndiegogoIndiegogo is a tool for anyone in the creative world to gather the support necessary for their projects. Indiegogos platform allows filmmakers like us to share our project with the infinite community on the internet, as well as with friends and longstanding allies of our work. We create a profile, set a fundraising goal and a time frame to meet it, and offer the rewards/incentives to bring donors into the family.
What Else Can I Do to Help?
KEEP SPREADING THE WORD ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER, EMAIL BLASTS, BLOGS & MORE!!! After donating, the next thing you can do is announce your support of our campaign to your friends. Share our trailer on Youtube. Check out the tools at the top of this page to link our Indiegogo campaign to your website, Facebook profile, and Twitter feed for all friends and family to see. Also, please join our Facebook group - http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/STOLEN/90768581548. We all need to rally together to get this issue off the ground and show the world the reality in the Sahara. As Tizlam says, "slavery should be from the past, not present or the future!
Can We Raise More Than Our Goal?
YES! And YES! $8,000 is
just the beginning, and Indiegogo allows us to raise as much money as
possible before our deadline. The more money we raise here, the faster we will be able to effect change and help the black people who still live in slavery in Nth Africa.
Ive Made My Pledge But Would Like to Add More
This is a question we
really like to answer. Just go to our campaign page, click Manage Your
Donation. From there, you can enter a new amount and choose a new perk!
?Thanks for your abundant generosity!
If youd like to contribute more than $1,000 to the campaign, please get in touch with us directly, and we can discuss other incentives with you.
How Can I Contact You?Wed love to hear from you! You can contact us directly at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. We will get back to you as soon as possible.
So... Please EVERYONE, spread the word amongst your friends,
your friends on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and the rest... The more
people who find out about this important cause the grander our success
Dan & V and the team behind STOLEN, especially the people who took the risk to speak out about slavery in the hope the world will take notice and slavery will end in the Sahara.