They Are We

Directors: Emma Christopher
Country: Australia, Cuba, Liberia and Sierra Leone
Year: 2013
Running Time: 90 min.
Language: English


Josefa held her village’s songs and dances in her heart. Captured in Africa, she treasured them as she was loaded into the gruesome hold of a slave ship and then sold as a beast of burden in Cuba. Toiling on a plantation, she taught the songs and dances to her children and grandchildren, words and rhythms that lost their original meanings but still resonated with the cadences of their stolen identity. Now, 160 years later, might those same songs and dances enable her descendants to make their way home?

They Are We tells the story of how Josefa’s descendants have kept some of their origins alive. It shows the incredible search for their African roots and then follows the two halves of the family as they try to overcome their problems—the Africans’ extreme poverty and the Cubans’ lack of freedom to travel—to meet again. It is a story of surviving the worst of human experience and how family ties can outlast just about anything.

About the Director

Emma Christopher

Biography: Emma is an academic historian, writer and anti-slavery campaigner who is on the faculty at the University of Sydney and currently holds a five-year Australian Research Council Fellowship. She has previously held fellowships at Yale University and Monash University, and has worked extensively in West Africa. Her first book, Slave Ship Sailors and their Captive Cargoes, was hailed as “the most important book on the Atlantic slave trade in a very long time”. Her second book, A Merciless Place, jointly won the Ernest Scott prize for best book in Australian history and won the Kay Daniels prize for best book in Australian colonial history. She also wrote, The Devils at Hotel Africa, about a slave ‘factory’ at Cape Mesurado, Liberia. They Are We is her first film.


Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
They Are We (2014).

They Are We (2013).