July 23, 2010
Studio: First Run Features
Directors: Lucy Bailey, Andrew Thompson
MPAA Rating: N/A
Michael Campbell is one of the few hundred white farmers left in Zimbabwe since President Robert Mugabe began his violent land seizure program in 2000. Initially a policy meant to reclaim white-owned land and redistribute it to poor black Zimbabweans, it has instead been used to gift farmland to Mugabe’s supporters. Like hundreds before him, Mike has suffered years of land invasions and violence at his farm. But this genial 75-year-old grandfather with a dry sense of humor has refused to back down. In 2008, Mike took the unprecedented step of challenging Mugabe and his Land Reform program in an international court, accusing the regime of illegal racial discrimination and violations of basic human rights. Set against the backdrop of the tumultuous 2008 Zimbabwean presidential elections, "Mugabe and the White African" follows Mike and son-in-law Ben Freeth in their harrowing attempt to save their family farm and the lives and livelihoods of the 500 black workers that live and work there. The outcome of the international court case will determine not just the future of Mike and his family, but that of millions of Zimbabweans. Whatever the verdict, this audacious stand may cost them their lives. With much of the film shot covertly at the risk of imprisonment to the filmmakers, "Mugabe and the White African" is the only documentary to come out of Zimbabwe in recent years, where a total press ban still exists, and is perhaps the outside world’s only real glimpse inside Mugabe's modern-day Zimbabwe.