logo"Miners Shot Down is the most upsetting, unsettling and important film I have worked with for a long time. Never pathetic, Rehad Desai's documentary left me in tears." (Mette Hoffman, Commissioning Editor DRTV Denmark).

A widely anticipated film about the Marikana massacre by renowned South African filmmaker, Rehad Desai of Uhuru Productions, will open the One World Film Fesitval on 3rd March, 2014. The film has also been selected for the Right to Know Competition at One World.

Miners Shot Down, a documentary in the political thriller genre, will then be screened exclusively at Cinema Nouveau theatres across the country from Friday, 30 May 2014.

Desai was at Marikana in August 2012, covering the wildcat strike by Lonmin's rock drill operators in the days leading up to the massacre. At the time, he had intended to make a film about enduring inequality faced by mineworkers and mining communities across the country's platinum belt. But nobody at the time could have predicted that the South African state would turn its guns on miners at Marikana who, out of sheer frustration with their union the NUM, had decided to go it alone to demand a living wage.

Since the massacre, unpacking the events that led to the country's first post-colonial massacre has become Desai's obsession.

"The police have insisted from the beginning that they had no option but to shoot in self-defense. Many people have accepted this narrative, even though if you follow recent events at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, it's clear that this is a lie. The film shows that not only could the loss of lives have been avoided, but that the attack was actually planned by those with power. The police were brutal but they were just the foot soldiers," Desai states.

How this could happen in a democracy and under the watch of the ANC is a question that has perplexed many. Early indications are that the film will not only shock viewers, but will inspire people to demand that drastic measures are taken and that as a nation we learn from Marikana.

"…What is really remarkable is that the film shows the whole incident from literally all sides. The forensic care with which both the immediate circumstances and the overall political context are explained make riveting viewing. It is impossible not to be both appalled and deeply moved by not only the human injustice but also the political tragedy which Marikana represents. It is an extremely important document not simply to understand the specifics of this incident but also to understand the profound challenges for South Africa. It is essential viewing. It is impossible to watch without feeling a profound sense of outrage. (Lee Hall screenwriter Inter Alia of Billy Elliot)

The film has an impressive creative team, including Brian Tilley and Bhekisizwe Peterson (Consulting Producers) and a spread of local and internationally acclaimed film editors.

Miners Shot Down has already attracted international attention. In March alone, the film travels to the Paris International Film Festival, Amnesty International's Movies That Matter (Le Hague) and to I Represent in Lagos, Nigeria.

During March, there will also be a number of special screenings across the UK, including one at the Houses of Parliament, and a screening in Cape Town aimed at Parliamentarians. In April, the film is expected to screen at Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival.

The production of the film has been made possible through generous support from international and local foundations. The major sponsor is the Ford Foundation's JustFilms, with Bertha Foundation and South Africa's National Film and Video Foundation also making generous contributions. A raft of international public broadcasters from Finland to Japan have also partnered the film.

Miners Shot Down – Synopsis:

In August 2012, mineworkers in one of South Africa's biggest platinum mines began a wildcat strike for better wages. Six days into the strike, the police used live ammunition to brutally suppress the strike, killing 34 and injuring many more. The police insisted that they shot in self-defence.

Miners Shot Down tells a different story, one that unfolds in real time over seven days, like a ticking time bomb. The film weaves together the central point-of-view of three strike leaders, Mambush, Tholakele and Mzoxolo, with compelling police footage, TV archive material and interviews with lawyers representing the miners in the ensuing commission of inquiry into the massacre. What emerges is a tragedy that arises out of the deep fault lines in South Africa's nascent democracy, of enduring poverty and a twenty year old, unfulfilled promise of a better life for all. A powerful and disturbing film, beautifully shot, sensitively told and featuring a haunting soundtrack, Miners Shot Down points to how far the African National Congress has strayed from its progressive liberationist roots and leaves audiences with an uncomfortable view of those that profit from minerals in the global South.

For more information about Miners Shot Down, please visit: www.minershotdown.co.za | Facebook: Miners Shot Down | Follow us on Twitter: @minersshotdown.

Issued by: Anita Khanna
On behalf of: Uhuru Productions
For media information: Anita Khanna
Tel: 083 357 5904/  011 615 2505
E-mail: anita@uhuruproductions.co.za