Dear Mandela

Directors: Dara Kell and Christopher Nizza
Countries: South Africa / USA
Year: 2012
Running Time: 90 min.
Languages: English / Zulu

When the South African government promises to “eradicate the slums” and begins to evict shack dwellers, three friends who live in Durban’s vast shantytowns refuse to be moved.

About the Director

Dara Kell and Christopher Nizza

Biography: Dara Kell is an award-winning South African filmmaker and editor. She was co-editor of The Reckoning (Sundance Film Festival, 2009) and was an additional editor on the Academy Award-nominated Jesus Camp. She has since edited documentaries about prison reform, LGBT rights, Head Start and domestic violence. As part of a coalition of grassroots community organizations, she spent many years working with youth across the United States developing collaborative films to strengthen their work on healthcare and housing rights issues. She has trained young people who are now leaders in dozens of groups across the country, including the Media Mobilizing Project in Philadelphia and United Workers in Baltimore. In South Africa, she edited Courting Justice, which profiles five indomitable female judges charged with the task of advancing human rights and enacting transitional justice. Dara studied Journalism and Political Science at Rhodes University, and won the top prize for her student film about motherhood and AIDS.

Biography: Christopher Nizza is a New York City born, bred and based filmmaker and editor. His Emmy Award-winning work includes documentaries and television shows (Hollywood DC, Ironman Triathlon, Dakar Rally, Iditarod) as well as video game commercials and music videos. He edited Figure Skating at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, NBC’s highest-rated venue at the Games. Nizza is a founding member of the University of the Poor, a project dedicated to using video and new technologies as part of a broad movement to end poverty. As part of this work he collaborated with other filmmakers and community groups to make Crisis, U.S.A., Copy This Tape and Learning as we Lead. These short documentaries have been used in educational programs at hundreds of grassroots meetings across the United States. He also played on one of the most fun, undersized, outgunned basketball teams in New York City high school history, once hitting 5 three-pointers in a game.

Christopher Nizza and Dara Kell are recipients of Participant Media’s Outstanding Filmmaker Award, representing Africa. Dear Mandela is their first feature-length documentary.


Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Dear Mandela (2013).

Copy This Tape (Date unknown – Christopher Nizza);
Crisis, U.S.A. (Date unknown – Christopher Nizza);
Learning as we Lead (Date unknown – Christopher Nizza);
Indlini Yam [In My House] (2003 – Dara Kell);
Dear Mandela (2012).