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“I Stopped Talking and Started Making the Film”: Director Pascale Lamche | Winnie


During its development, production or eventual distribution, what specific challenge of communication did, or will your film, face? How did you deal with it, or how are you planning to deal with it?

The first time I mentioned I was making a film about Winnie Mandela, it happened to be to a novelist in a bar in Amsterdam. He screwed up his face and said: “What? That murderer!” His response was echoed on numerous occasions around the world. Nelson Mandela was still perceived as a saint and his wife as the fallen woman, or worse.

At the time, we were having trouble finding backers for the film, and faced a great deal of skepticism at documentary film festivals where the idea was pitched. The reactions were fulsomely negative. Self-styled experts on the lay of the land in South Africa assured me I’d need to pay big bucks for access. This proved entirely wrong, as I knew it would be. Others feared I’d be hoodwinked and manipulated. The underbelly of all this negative anticipation was a hard-boiled and preconceived opinion of Winnie. She would remain the Sinner Lady (as in Charlie Mingus’s masterpiece album, The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady).

At a certain point I stopped talking and started making the film. The film tells the real story. It may surprise people.

[PREMIERE SCREENING: Sunday, January 22 at 3:00pm — Yarrow Hotel Theatre]

Sundance Responses 2017

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