Alumni Highlights: They Are We

As we approach CCBFF 2015 (get your tickets now!) it’s important to remember those who came before and have made our festival such a huge success. We’re wholly dedicated to celebrating the talent, vision, and hard work of independent filmmakers of color across the globe. While an annual event centering around this goal brings us great joy, we also know that it is important to call attention to these creative minds long after the festival is over and appreciate their work.

Today in our Alumni Highlights segment, we have Emma Christopher, director of They Are We which screened at CCBFF 2014.

It was definitely a big part of an amazing ride we had with They Are We.

What has/is happening with your film since (or before) being a part of CCBFF?

We have gone on to considerable successes, and have now screened in around 40 countries around the world. We won Best Documentary at DocMiami, Best Educational Documentary at Bare Bones, Best Documentary at Bronze Lens Atlanta and the Audience Award at the Latin American Film Festival in London, as well as being nominated for many other awards including two Maverick Awards. We have been honoured with special screenings at the Smithsonian Institute for Sierra Leone National Day and the American Museum of Natural History for Kwanzaa, and have featured in everything from the BBC to Atlantic Magazine.

Our biggest honour has been our collaboration with the United Nations: in 2014 They Are We was given a special screening in NYC, co-hosted by the NY African Film Festival and the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and we even got to meet Ban Ki-moon who praised the film as “an inspiration…a victory over slavery.” Photos from the movie are still on display at UN Headquarters, and in 2015 we were chosen as the UN’s official Remembrance of Slavery Day film, and screened in many of the UN Information Centres around the globe. The movie was then offered a distribution deal with Icarus Films and is now available in the US through them.


Tell us a little about your latest project. Title, summary, etc.

We plan to make a follow up to They Are We, telling the continuing links of the family in Sierra Leone and Cuba who found each other after centuries of separation. This has been delayed considerably because of the Ebola epidemic and we have instead been screening They Are We to raise money to help that fight and to ensure that the people featured in the film can be kept safe and well.

How can people learn more about you and your work?

Stay tuned for more stories from our filmmakers! Be sure to join us this year at #CCBFF2015 for a rare treat: a conversation with the one-and-only Freeway Rick Ross on August 15th!