Gender based violence has always been a subject matter that Siya and Rachel Kolisi have felt strongly about. We Are Dying Here, the short film that the power couple announced to be executive producers for, is a reflection of the impact of violence, harassment, abuse, rape and femicide on everyday life in South Africa.
While the film never depicts any violence, the psychological and emotional trauma of these women is evident. It is an insight into the experience of living in South Africa where names of missing or murdered women trend frequently.
The original story belongs to South African writer, performer and director, Shiphokazi Jonas, who performed it during the lockdown last year and is actually one of the main characters in the movie.
Siphokazi developed the story due to being tired of feeling helpless and afraid as a woman in South Africa. She continued by saying that before work began on creating We Are Dying Here, she felt as if art has no real place in terms of true change in the world.
During lockdown, the movie was mentioned in Timeout New York as one of the best productions to stream.
One of the most beautiful results of this film is that it causes people to stop, think, and, more so, encourages men and women to have conversations. Like the title, it gets straight to the point.
- Rachel Kolisi
A little snippet on what to expect , the movie follows the journey of three “soldiers” forced to survive a war that they did not choose. In this war against women’s bodies, they attempt to find solace by telling their stories under the constant watch of a relentless enemy.
Siya made a discovery that there are many things that need to be unpacked in this film.
“There is a lot that can be explained. The narrative of the film also teaches you that gender-based violence doesn’t start with the violence, but the whole thought process. The film encompasses a lot of educational learnings for us as men,” said Siya.
Rachel took to social media this week to share a video of herself and Siya during a viewing of the film’s trailer.
The short film will have it's global premiere at the Pan African Film Festival running from Sunday, February 28 to March 14.