Sitraka entered the prison when he was 14. Since then he has taken over many duties and has started to organise activities on his own. He is the room-leader of one of the two cells (dorms) and is responsible for instructing the room members, to solve internal conflicts and to report major problems to the prison-guards. He organises small commissions like food-orders from the prisoners for outside and also leads the ‘playtable’ where he rents out cards to others for a small fee.
Since 2016 Sitraka has started a theatre-group with around 15 members. Every half a year they perform their self-written theaterplay to the rest of the prisoners. The other activities Sitraka conducts include a self-managed preaching-service inside the cell at night, story-telling gatherings and slam-events.
Over the course of the film-shootings he played a major role both as camera-man, for organising the day-schedule, leading interviews and as main character behind the camera.
When he will be released in 2021 he wants to continue working in the field of film both as cameraman/cinematogrpher and director.
Jean Chrisostome also belonged to some of the eldest and long-term detainees until he was released in 2018. Together with Sitraka he conducted a lot of the activities like the theatre-group and slam-events. Instead of documenting right in the center of attention he preferred to take the camera and step back to capture more quiet movements like the proceeding of a small ant or the slow passing-on of clouds in the sky. Besides the camera, music is one of his biggest talents. He writes songs and raps which he performs behind the camera and with the audio-recorder always on his side, sometimes solo and sometimes with a whole dance-crew next to him.
Adriano entered the prison at the age of 16 and was released in April this year. He belonged to one of the eldest and used to spend his time by drawing pictures, cartoons and designs or logos for all kinds of announcements of prison activities. During the workshop Adriano specialised himself in the technical handling of the cameras. To choose and change lenses, menu settings and decide what angle and frame is appropriate for the action to be documented were the tasks he was responsible of during the project.
Alpha was detained for 3 years and is already enjoying freedom during these days. He also belonged to Sitraka‘s group, helping him with everything that was on the plan for daily film-shootings. Next to his duties at film-activities, he was also responsible for the opening and closing of the main gate, to check everybody who passes through and to communicate with the guards about the upcoming program. He has earned himself this job after a long way of lower tasks and he belonged just like Sitraka to some of the ones who enjoy high social status and respect among the fellow prisoners. Oftentimes he did camera-man work and handed-on his obtained abilities in terms of camera-handling to others.
Lina Zacher, born in 1991, studied Industrial Design and Game and Learning Design from 2013-2016 and then moved to the class of Stella Geppert in the field of Art Education. Together with Delphine Bishop she developed the video exchange project „Mio“, a concept for improving intercultural learning in schools and then founded the same-named association „Mio e.V“. In the Philippines, Lina Zacher spent more than half a year working with refugee children of the indigenous tribe ‚Lumad‘ and realized together with the Philippine artist Aba Dalena the exhibition ‚Batang Lumad‘ (Lumad Child), which addresses the current problem of ‚landgrabbing‘.
For her latest project and debut „Fonja,“ a documentary film shot by juvenile detainees, she spent more than four months in a youth prison in Madagascar, teaching camera handling, image composition, and editing techniques.
My vision for this project is to carry out this personal and unique film with and from the minors of the youth prison Antanimora in Madagascar.
This film is not only an important portrait which is highly relevant for human rights discussions but also a symbol for the great talent and individual creativity lurking in all of us even at a place being despised of society like prisons. My goal is to push those unusual young filmmakers and to make their effort a success. I want to reach out and spread the great spirit and positivity of this strong group to inspire and create wonder among others.
Idea, Production, Editing
the minors of the youth prison
Antanimora in Madagascar