Actor and activist Thandiwe Newton, who was named to the Queen’s New Year’s Honors List, receiving an OBE for services to film and charity, has joined documentary “President” as executive producer. The film won a Special Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival this year and will screen at AFI Docs on Thursday.
The film captures Zimbabwe at a crossroads. In the first election since the removal of Robert Mugabe, the new leader of the opposition Nelson Chamisa is challenging the dictator’s corrupt legacy, and his successor Emmerson “the crocodile” Mnangagwa. The election will be the ultimate test for both sides. How they interpret the principles of democracy, if they can inspire trust among the citizenry, not succumb to violence, and foster faith in institutions, will set the course for the future for the country.
Newton said: “Zimbabwe needs this film like a body needs oxygen. It has the potential to save lives, liberate the oppressed, and discover truths. There is no better purpose for filmmaking, than this.”
Executive producer Danny Glover added: “Camilla Nielsson’s remarkable dedication and depth of engagement over the course of a decade have garnered her a well- and hard-earned credibility on the ground in Zimbabwe. A brilliant follow-up to her acclaimed prior film ‘Democrats,’ the new film ‘President’ is a work of epic relevance to those of us waking up to the violent power grab(s) and greed of elite ruling classes that have their boots on the neck of people everywhere. Everyone needs the practice of freedom and caring for others, and the great tragedy that has played out in Zimbabwe, as well as the great resistance, is critical and inspiring viewing.”
The film is produced by Oscar-nominee Signe Byrge Sørensen (“The Act of Killing,” “The Look of Silence”) and Oscar-nominee Joslyn Barnes (“Strong Island,” “Hale County This Morning,” “This Evening”). It is co-produced by Anne Köhncke and Anita Rehoff Larsen for Sant & Usant. It is executive produced by Susan Rockefeller and Glover for Louverture Films, Tone Grøttjord-Glenne for Final Cut for Real, Mandy Chang, Sabine Bubeck-Paaz, and Newton.
The film is produced by Final Cut for Real (Denmark), and is co-produced by Louverture Films (U.S.) and Sant & Usant (Denmark).
Cinephil is handling worldwide sales, and with Submarine for the U.S.