British-Nigerian filmmaker Joseph Adesunloye is set to direct a new UN-backed documentary about climate change that will be executive produced by “City of God” filmmaker, Fernando Meirelles.
Titled “The Great Green Wall,” the film will chronicle the ongoing initiative to grow an 8,000 km wall of trees and plants across the width of the African continent.
The story will unfold through the eyes of Malian singer and model Inna Modja – who will also produce the film’s soundtrack along with several international musicians – with a grand finale that will end in Senegal where featured artists will hold a concert at the Great Green Wall.
Filming on the $750K project is set to take place this summer in Senegal, Mali, Niger, Ethiopia and Nigeria, with producers aiming to shop the documentary to broadcasters and international distributors at the upcoming European Film Market in Berlin.
Produced by UK outfit Make Productions, and backed by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the film will be executive produced by BAFTA Sarah MacDonald, and Sian Kevil, a former editor of “BBC’s Newsnight.”
As for why “City of God” director Fernando Meirelles is involved in the making of the project, the filmmaker told Screen magazine: “I plant around 13-15,000 trees each year. I have my own nursery. It is an important moment in history to plant trees and plants, something which is as an easy and cheap solution to help combat climate change… I first came to hear about the Great Green Wall when directing the Rio Olympics opening ceremony, which had a segment about forests. I was amazed by the scale of the project. The Great Green Wall is an environmental and social project: support for it is very important. This is a hopeful documentary about a positive initiative.”
The Great Green Wall of trees will run through 11 countries along the southern frontier of the Sahara Desert. Led by the African Union, the key purpose of the wall is to combat the effects of climate change, provide a mighty barrier against the advance of the Sahara, and to reverse the desertification that’s spreading drought, famine and poverty through the Sahel region (from west to east, including parts of northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, central Mali, northern Burkina Faso, the extreme south of Algeria, Niger, the extreme north of Nigeria, central Chad, central and southern Sudan, the extreme north of South Sudan, Eritrea, Cameroon, Central African Republic and extreme north of Ethiopia). The Initiative has 21 African countries participating, over $4 billion of pledged funding, and heavyweight partners from the World Bank to the French government. The project is expected to restore 50 million hectares of land, provide food security for 20 million people, create 350,000 jobs, and sequester 250 million tons of carbon. Work is already well underway.
Director Adesunloye is a filmmaker whose work has been highlighted on this blog; his feature film debut, “White Colour Black,” made its world premiere at the 60th BFI London Film Festival in October of last year, where it was nominated for the BFI IWC Schaffhausen Filmmakers Bursary Award. The film has yet to screen in the USA. A trailer for “White Colour Black” follows below as we await more information on what will be his next film, “The Great Green Wall.” This should give you some idea of his style: