Since 2007 it has become known that Albinos in Tanzania, Congo and Kenya have become a commodity – human targets of a lucrative and sinister trade.
Witch doctors offer thousands of dollars for albino body parts which are believed to bring good fortune, prosperity and the ability to cure any illness. As a result, Tanzanian albinos, including children, have been murdered by gangs of men who hack off arms, legs or genitals. Some will pay from $500 to $5000 for an albino limb while the average annual income in Tanzania is $442. There is a saying in East Africa, “Albinos don’t die, they just disappear”. Seventy-three such documented killings have occurred in the past two years as well as hundreds of unreported attacks since 2007.
WHITE SHADOW is the story of Alias, a young albino boy on the run. After witnessing his father’s murder, his mother sends him away to find refuge in the city. He’s brought to the care of his uncle, Kosmos, a truck driver struggling with a few small businesses. In the city, Alias is a quick learner, selling sunglasses, DVDs and mobile phones. He is fond of his uncle’s daughter, Antoinette, although his uncle disapproves. Gradually the city becomes no different than the bush and wherever Alias travels the same rules of survival apply.
“While preparing to teach in Dar Es Salaam, I learned about the hunting of Albinos in East Africa. I decided a film must be made: a real chronicle of a young person with a price on his head. A person who has to urgently become aware of his own condition against events that can end his life. In a certain circumstance, you can witness what it feels to be a beast. to react, to be alert to your utmost ability. You must accept the solitude of your dreams as your friend and as a form of survival. The details of the plot should be only what the character is able to understand and piece together, the politics and cultural information should be delivered in a sensory form. To make the film work we needed to be small, local and quick-moving, making sure everyone was safe and brave.”