Dancing the Revolution

Filmmaker Q&A with Director Vaida Blazyte

What motivated you to make your impact video?

The diversity of people has always fascinated me. Once, while volunteering in Mozambique, I saw an albino boy in one primary school and I was surprised, that I’ve never thought about this phenomenon – albino Africans. I started researching and found a lot of interesting and shocking information. The deeper I researched into the subject, the more complicated it seemed and I wanted to investigate it myself, so I went to Tanzania to make a documentary film about the albino community there.


What do you want audiences to take away from this video?

The most important message in this documentary film is, first of all, raising awareness about the condition of albinism – it is not abnormal, it exists everywhere in the world and it’s naturally innate. People with albinism are just like anybody else – they are capable of doing everything what “normal” people do, so the society should not reject them as incapable or disabled. The myths and superstitions about people with albinism should be pulled out with roots and so could all the witchcraft crimes be prevented. Tolerance starts from education and awareness. Another major problem albinos face is skin cancer – awareness about cancer must be raised in Tanzania and other countries and measures should be taken to make healthcare more accessible for albino community. I hope that people, who will see the film, will also inform others about albinos not only in Africa, but in other parts of the world. I hope people will feel inspired to work on further raising awareness of this issue and in such way will contribute to reducing discrimination and raising tolerance.


Please list key points that should be covered in a post-screening discussion:

What is the situation of people with albinism in other countries? If they are discriminated against, why? If they are not – why?
Why do people with albinism encounter such discrimination?
Why do so many people in Africa believe in witchcraft and why do people with albinism is a target for it?
What can be done to reduce discrimination and injuring, killing cases of people with albinism in Africa?


Please provide information on any recent developments regarding the issue or subjects of the video. How have things changed or not changed?

Recently Tanzania arrested many witchdoctors and people thought to be also involved in albino murders or attacks, however, until then there have been little or no developments of this issue.


What opportunities are available for those interested in getting further involved?

Basic needs first – albinos in Africa are always in need of sunscreen, sunglasses, glasses, materials for education, etc. It is very important to raise awareness of African communities, especially those living in rural areas where crimes related to albinos are more prevalent: to provide medical information about albinism, to explain why people are born albinos, how to help them live normal lives, etc. To implement projects that integrate albinos into the society.


Please provide any additional resources (websites, links to additional videos, forms, articles, etc.) relevant to the context of the issue discussed in your video:

A study by Muthee Thuku (2011) Myths, Discrimination, and the call for special rights for persons with albinism in Sub-Saharan Africa,



Albino killings in Africa (2009) Suzanne Nielsen and Camilla Madsen

Abino witchcraft murders (2011-2012) Harry Freeland

White & Black: crimes of color (2011) Jean-Francois Méan

Africa Investigates: The Spell of the Albino (2011) Claudio von Planta


Please tell us what camera(s) you shot with primarily – and any other special equipment that you used and why you used it.

Canon 600D and Sony HDV cameras, sound equipment.


Can you describe any obstacles you encountered in making your film and/or in your distribution/exhibition efforts?

Different expectations of the contributors of the documentary and us, the filmmakers, was quite a big obstacle for us trying to achieve that we planned during the production. The members of the troupe considered us as journalists and imagined that the outcome of our work in Tanzania would be a reportage on TV which would attract sponsorship to the albino community. It was difficult to interview the contributors, because most of them had a prepared speech and quite an official way of talking in front of camera.

Cultural differences lead into several uncomfortable situations, too. Very early in the production we realized how different we are, how differently we understand people’s communication, relationships and, in general, attitude to life. We traveled to Tanzania with question lists for the Troupe members who appeared to be quite inappropriate, we even anticipated the answers to the questions around which we built the main blocks of our film story, we had high expectations of long philosophical conversations about art and diversity, but reality turned out to be different.

Lack of time and budget to adapt to a new environment and to properly integrate into albino community was an obstacle, too.


What’s your favorite part about the filmmaking process and why?

In-depth research about the film subject, meeting people, hearing stories, traveling and exploring.


What’s the one item you always take with you when working out in the field and why? 

Notebook. To write down details that can’t be recorded otherwise.


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