“The Team” Nominated for Canadian Screen AwardsJanuary 16, 2013 by Robert Rome
Besides our Oscar nomination, our Stories of Change film “The Team” just received three nominations for the Canadian Screen Awards. These are the Canadian equivalent of the Emmys. The film by Patrick Reed is about Search for Common Ground’s use of soap opera to address tribal tensions in Kenya.
More about it:
Kenya has long been Africa’s success story—stable and ethnically harmonious.
After the presidential election in December 2007, everything changed. Voting controversy split the country along ethnic lines. A thousand people were killed and half a million displaced, pushing Kenya toward civil war, if not genocide. Dignitaries intervened, brokering peace, and establishing a fragile power-sharing government, but the post-election fallout persists. An alternative local response to the post-election violence seems superficial by comparison but is potentially more impactful: produce a TV soap opera series, hoping taboo storylines can bridge ethnic divisions and help transform a nation. Starting in December 2008, a Kenyan production company began work on a TV drama series, “The Team”, following the struggles of a fictional soccer team to overcome their ethnic differences, both on and off the pitch.
There’s inherent drama behind any TV production: will deadlines be met; will it be good; will it find an audience? But here the stakes are exponentially higher: if you don’t captivate an audience, you risk further losing your country.
All the ingredients for a compelling feature film are here: a skilled team of filmmakers; a stunning location; an unfolding process that is inherently visual and dramatic; an uncertain outcome that could have repercussions for both other conflicts and media’s potential to make a difference. A place ripe for transformation, but that’s also teetering on the brink. What can a soap opera achieve in this volatile context? Watch and see.
Patrick Reed first met Search For Common Ground founder John Marks and partner Susan Collin Marks at a Stories of Change Convening at the Skoll World Forum. Patrick attended subsequent convenings at the Sundance Film Festival and went into production in 2009. The Team was completed and had its world premiere at IDFA in 2010 followed by a special screening at the Skoll World Forum in March, 2011.