Laurie Conway's film seeks to highlight the importance of the rule of law by focusing on Lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa’s efforts in Zimbabwe. In spite of beatings by police, she has courageously defended in court those jailed by the Mugabe government—peace activists, journalists, opposition candidates, farmers that had their land confiscated, ordinary citizens that had the courage to speak up. Through interviews with Mtetwa and some of her defendants, Conway tells the story of what happens when rulers place themselves above the law and why defense of the rule of law is a crucial step in the building of a civil society. Although Mtetwa’s arena is Zimbabwe, her message and bravery are universal. Conway's production team hopes that the film will spark dialogue and change in Zimbabwe and throughout Africa, while also bringing the story of this inspiring woman to the attention of the rest of the world.
The film will be completed by December 1st and it will be distributed before the next presidential election in Zimbabwe. Through its broadcast, international distribution, and screenings organized through partnerships with NGO’s, foundations, and educational institutions, the film will educate viewers about the importance of the law, democracy, human rights and press freedom in Zimbabwe and throughout Africa.
Since the rule of law is often presented as an abstract principle Conway is using the efforts of Beatrice Mtetwa to bring it to life. Her story and the stories of some of her key defendants will help a general audience and various communities in Africa to understand more clearly the importance of the rule of law and its central role in democracy.
One of the audiences the fim aims to reach are the young people of Africa. Through outreach with NGO’s and foundations, Laurie Conway and her team will work to develop partnerships so that the film will be shown in classrooms and at community events for young people across the continent so students and adolescents will learn about Beatrice Mtetwa’s efforts and be inspired by her work and commitment to the rule of law.
The film has received grants from the United States Institute for Peace, the International Bar Association, the Bertha BRITDOC Journalism Foundation, and The Guardian’s Scott Trust Foundation.
Please contact Lorie Conway at [email protected] for more information about the film project.