More about the film
Low tide in Paje. As the water recedes we catch a glimpse of curious patterns of sticks sprawled across the horizon. The sun hums with heat. This is the time for tourists to take shelter under the thatched roofs of the hundreds of beach bars dotted along the coast. But for the local women of coastal Zanzibar, this is the time to work. They are cultivating seaweed and so begins their back breaking day. They lug bundles of sticks and string they use as pegs and lines to fashion their farms. They bend at a super human angle for many hours on end. They use their heads to carry their water- soaked harvest back to shore. These are the women of Beneath the Tide.
Sihaba and Fauzia overlook their farms
As the story unfolds we'll learn about their troubles and concerns. Something is killing the seaweed; a parasite and rising water temperatures are both possible culprits. The women have to come up with a way to save their livelihood.
Raw seaweed is worth, at best, 20 cents per kilo so in the past the farmers' hard work was poorly rewarded until the community got together and began processing it to make soap - an ingenious way of increasing its value. Beneath the Tide focuses on the members of the Seaweed Centre. Up until now these women had a stable income and have used it to provide for their children. The decline of seaweed growth is now threatening all of this...but they are not going out without a fight.
Seaweed Centre factory
The centre is working with local scientists to pin point the problem and work on a solution. I'll be travelling all round the island to film the scientists' experimental techniques including one called deep sea farming which involves anchoring seaweed seedlings to rocks in deep and cooler waters.
I also want to get to know the women of Paje. I want to capture them and the culture they belong to. We'll have the chance to simply observe these Amazon-like, vibrant women in all their glory. Last time I was there I filmed extensively with two members of the centre, Sihaba and Fuazia. I'm looking forward to filming them again in a more relaxed setting, like their homes.
This film will focus on things like the environment and nature but it will also be a film that shows the positive effect of collective action. I'll examine the relationship between the women, the managers of the centre and the marine biologists to show how their combined efforts lead to innovative and creative solutions.
Ultimately though, I want to tell the story in a beautiful and observant way so you can enjoy the process of watching and learning all about this stunning place and its people.
Why crowd funding?
I decided to go through the crowd funding route for many reasons. Firstly, it gives me a lot more freedom as funding trusts often have a lot of say in your final product. But more importantly I did it because, as you can probably tell, I'm very much into the idea of collective action. Nothing makes more sense to me than my film being funded by different people from different places with different lives. How exciting!
And don't forget- there are many ways to help even if you can't make a donation...tell your friends, like us on FB and youtube, shout ''I love Beneath the Tide!'' from your roof tops... generally spread the word!
Why should you help me make this film?
When it's finished I'd like to see this film act as a tool for raising awareness and I hope the Seaweed Centre and other such organizations can use it to raise funds for the all important scientific research. You can be part of this. If you want a more hands on reason try this: if you donate anything above £25 you'll receive a beautifully presented bar of seaweed soap from the Centre and rest assured that your money will have made a positive impact on these women's lives. I think that'll make you feel good... and smell even better!
When you support Beneath the Tide you also support the Seaweed Centre!
This lovely bundle of soap, cream and body scrub plus many more perks can be yours.
My progress so far
I've edited a short version of the film. I've got over 4 hours of footage but I preferred a polished 10 minutes than a sloppy 40. And most importantly, now I know what I need whereas before the February shoot everything was unsure!
What the funding would cover
Tickets to Zanzibar
Local fixer and translator
A sound person
Extra camera/sound equipment
Living expenses for 10 days
Editor to fine tune my final edit
and logo design
- Local distribution with the aim to educate and raise funds
A little bit about the crew
Kat - Producer/Director
After university I started working in TV initially in various channels in Greece (where I'm from) and later in London. I was always drawn to storytelling but news didn't feel creative enough for me so I found a course in documentary making at Brunel University. I made my first mid length film about a village in Greece that uses a whistled language to communicate. The Village that Whistles went on to be screened at several film festivals around the world; from Greece, to Estonia, to Spain and even New Caledonia. After the course I stayed in tv but something was amiss. What really pushed me to pursue my passion was the birth of my son a year and a half ago. I realised that I wanted him to have a mum who absolutely adores what she does for a living. So I quit! Since then I've been out taking pictures, writing and finally getting busy with Beneath the Tide. Its already been an amazing and adventurous experience and I'm loving every minute of it.
You can check out some of my other projects at https://vimeo.com/user2362894
Aisha - Fixer/Translator Extraordinaire!
Aisha began her journey in journalism in 2006 at Dar es Salaam School of Journalism. Soon after graduating she got a job as a radio presenter at Coconut FM Radio based in Zanzibar and stayed with them for four years. She also worked part time at an insurance company and has since gone back to university to study Insurance and Social Protection. On the side she began fixing for several news channels on a number of different stories. She also has an 11 year old son; so she's a very busy lady!
I managed to find her through some contacts and we instantly clicked. During my February shoot she showed enthusiasm and professionalism and I couldn't imagine going back without her!
''I think I've become more interested in protecting my society and that's why I became very interested in this project because I know from this project i will learn a lot about the problems that seaweed farmers are facing as well as helping them in how they can minimize them.''
You can also read more about the Seaweed Centre here : http://www.seaweedcenter.com
Thank you so much for taking the time to look at my campaign, now lets raise some money!