He embarks on a journey with his best friend, Sierra Leone’s most famous playwright, Charlie Haffner, to create an epic work of national theatre – a play to reclaim their country from negative media narratives and the damaging legacy of colonial rule. It doesn’t go as planned.
Sorious Samura is Sierra Leone’s best-known investigative journalist, making documentaries for CNN, Channel 4 and BBC that have won two Emmy Awards and seen him described by The Independent as “the world’s most fearless filmmaker”. Over the last 25 years, he’s tackled the toughest issues in the region including civil war, starvation, AIDS, corruption, attitudes to homosexually and more.
But Sorious has grown tired of telling negative stories about Africa and, having moved to London many years earlier, begins to realise that he is only telling half of the truth about his continent. Desperate to change the narrative, he turns to his best friend and mentor, Sierra Leone’s iconic playwright, Charlie Haffner.
These two friends embark on a journey to create an inspiring work of national theatre – to restore pride to a nation with a rich and amazing history, yet known today mostly for conflict, poverty and corruption.
It doesn’t go as planned. It becomes clear very quickly that the two men have a shared ambition but have lived very different lives. Their two cultures collide and tensions flare, as Sierra Leone itself teeters on the brink of civil unrest. For both men, the play becomes a matter of personal and national salvation.
Through increasing adversity, they push to opening night. What will happen when the curtain lifts?
"LUSH SOUNDS ARE BEAUTIFULLY PAIRED WITH STUNNING VISUALS"
"A HUGELY SPECIAL, REWARDING DOCUMENTARY"
"SING, FREETOWN IS A BEAUTIFUL AND RAW DOCUMENTARY."
"ITS SUBJECTS ARE INTENSELY RELATABLE, ITS GENEROUS AND KIND NATURE FLOWS EASILY, AND IT’S A MOVING EXPERIENCE TO WATCH."
"A REMARKABLE PIECE OF DOCUMENTARY CINEMA"
"PATTERSON’S FILM IS A WONDERFUL, VISUALLY STUNNING AND INSPIRING RECORD OF SAMURA AND HAFFNER’S JOURNEY."
Clive Patterson is an award winning producer and director of documentary films and is the senior producer at Insight TWI – an Emmy, BAFTA and Peabody award-winning production company in London. He has made over a dozen films with Sorious Samura which have been broadcast on the BBC, Channel 4 and Al Jazeera English. He was a founding member of the team that created the award-winning Africa Investigates series on Al Jazeera English, along with Sorious. More recently, he produced ‘So Foul A Sky’, a feature length documentary which premiered in competition at CPH DOX this year.
Charlie Haffner is the founder and director general of the 33-year-old performance troupe the Freetong (Freetown) Players, Sierra Leone’s
only full time theatre company during the late 80s, 90s and noughties. As a playwright and traditional communicator, he has worked extensively to use drama as a tool for education and development and to advance Sierra Leone’s post-war reconciliation.
He currently chairs the Sierra Leonean National Monuments and Relics Commission and was recently awarded the Order of the Rokel, the highest honour that can be bestowed upon a Sierra Leonean civilian.
Emmy, BAFTA, and Peabody winner Sorious Samura is a widely respected African film and television journalist. Since his debut with Emmy winning Cry Freetown (2000), the Sierra Leone native has produced and presented more than two dozen documentaries for major international broadcasters. He presented the groundbreaking ‘Living With…’ series for Channel 4 and helped produce the award-winning Africa Investigates series, featuring undercover investigations spearheaded by local investigative journalists across the African continent. More recently, Sorious has established Untold Africa Productions, a production company with the aim of telling positive stories from Africa.