There's No Script for
saving a nation

EMMY WINNING FILMMAKER FROM SIERRA LEONE, SORIOUS SAMURA, HAS GROWN TIRED TELLING NEGATIVE STORIES ABOUT AFRICA.

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?

Trailer

Play Video

Press

"LUSH SOUNDS ARE BEAUTIFULLY PAIRED WITH STUNNING VISUALS"

4/5

"A HUGELY SPECIAL, REWARDING DOCUMENTARY"

4/5

"SING, FREETOWN IS A BEAUTIFUL AND RAW DOCUMENTARY."

4/5
- Film Carnage -

"ITS SUBJECTS ARE INTENSELY RELATABLE, ITS GENEROUS AND KIND NATURE FLOWS EASILY, AND IT’S A MOVING EXPERIENCE TO WATCH."

4/5
- loud and clear reviews -

"A REMARKABLE PIECE OF DOCUMENTARY CINEMA"

5/5
- 500 days of film -

"PATTERSON’S FILM IS A WONDERFUL, VISUALLY STUNNING AND INSPIRING RECORD OF SAMURA AND HAFFNER’S JOURNEY."

4/5

Team

Director & Producer

Clive Patterson

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

KATY BARKSDALE

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

RON MCCULLAGH

where to watch?

upcoming screenings:

previous screenings:

  • GLOBAL CINEMA FILM FESTIVAL OF BOSTON 27 - 29 MAY
  • PAN AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL (ONLINE IN USA) 26 - 28 APR
  • CINEMARK - BALDWIN HILLS, LOS ANGELES (PAN AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL) 25 APR
  • INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF FILMS ON ART (ONLINE IN CANADA) 15 - 27 MAR 22
  • CANADIAN PREMIERE - Centre Canadien d’Architecture, MONTREAL 20 MAR 22
  • DOC NYC FILM FESTIVAL (ONLINE IN USA) 18 - 28 NOV 21
  • NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE, IFC CENTER - DOC NYC (NEW YORK) 17 NOV 21
  • AFRICA IN MOTION FILM FESTIVAL (UK)| 15 - 31 OCT 21
  • MK GALLERY, MILTON KEYNES 22 OCT 21
  • LEWES DEPOT CINEMA 19 OCT 21
  • EDINBURGH FILMHOUSE 17 - 18 AUG 21
  • Bertha DocHouse, Curzon Bloomsbury 02 - 15 jul 21
  • Dukes at Komedia, Brighton 01 jul 21
  • Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge 30 jun 21
  • Picturehouse at FACT, Liverpool 28 jun 21
  • Hackney Picturehouse 27 jun 21
  • The Ritzy, Brixton 26 jun 21
  • Crouch End Picturehouse 26 jun 21
  • Picturehouse Central 25 jun - 01 jul 21
  • London Premiere, Picturehouse Central 20 jun 21
  • World Premiere, Sheffield DocFest 11 jun 21
Director & Producer

Clive Patterson

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.

LEAD CONTRIBUTOR & ASSOCIATE PRODUCER

SORIOUS SAMURA

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.

LEAD CONTRIBUTER & ASSOCIATE PRODUCER

CHARLIE HAFFNER

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.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

KATY BARKSDALE

Katy Barksdale (Katybelle Films) has over thirty years of experience working on social justice issues in the US. Her work with education leaders in Sierra Leone over the past decade and her recognition of the importance of authentic African storytelling and cultural tradition were a catalyst for her passion for “Sing, Freetown”. Her belief of film as a lever for social change has driven her production of several films, including the award-winning documentary, “John Lewis: Good Trouble”.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

NICK FRASER

Nick Fraser is one of the world’s most noted authorities and often quoted commentators on nonfiction film. He has worked in the documentaries field for decades, and is a leading figure in the distribution and dissemination of nonfiction film. He was formerly the Commissioning Editor of Storyville, the BBC’s long-running, influential and cutting edge nonfiction program that airs documentaries made in the United Kingdom and around the world. Documentary films shown on Storyville have won many awards, including an Oscar, Sundance prizes, Peabody awards, IDFA trophies and Grierson Trust Awards.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

RON MCCULLAGH

Ron is an investigative filmmaker. He began at the BBC and then founded his own production company 30 years ago, Insight News TV (latterly) Insight TWI. He has produced and exec produced many investigations in challenging places and trained hundreds of journalists to make their own films. He has won a BAFTA and two Emmys.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

JON OSSOFF

Jon Ossoff served as the CEO and Managing Director of Insight TWI for seven years. Under Jon’s leadership, Insight TWI produced internationally broadcast investigations and exposés of sexual slavery by ISIS, crooked judges, foreign officials who steal US funded food and medical aid, contract killers, human traffickers, war crimes, and bribery. As Insight TWI’s former CEO, his production credits include films that have won major awards and been broadcast on dozens of television channels around the world.