At the age of eight, filmmaker Robyn Paterson greeted Comrade Robert Mugabe with flowers as he stepped from a plane at a Zimbabwe air-force base. She and her best friend, Mercy, were poster children for the new Zimbabwe. Robyn as pale skinned as Mercy was dark, the girls were a symbol that all was well in the independent nation. But it was not. Only a few miles away, Mercy’s Matabele tribes people were being massacred by Mugabe’s special forces. A generation later, Robyn begins a high-risk ground search across Zimbabwe - desperate to know what has happened to her friend. Along the way she faces the dangers of filming in a country hostile to media, the shock of what is still going on behind closed doors, and the stark differences that she and Mercy have come to symbolize. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and very different look at the Mugabe era. This is a film that will make you laugh and cry. This is Zimbabwe as you have never seen it before.
Robyn Patterson Finding Mercy is Robyn Paterson’s debut feature documentary. Having grown up in Zimbabwe, Robyn now lives in New Zealand where she works fulltime as a freelancer in the film and television industry. Her screen credits include producing, directing, presenting and writing, in a broad range of genres from comedy to documentary. As a writer Robyn has also recently published two books, with Longacre Press & Random House (NZ). Finding Mercy is an intensely personal project that represents a welcome return home for Robyn to the African continent, about which she continues to be passionate.
Edwin G. Kollie – a 15 year-old Liberian war orphan - always dreamed of making a Nollywood movie…and he had only two days to finish a script, build an entire African village set, and cast the 30 villagers needed – none of whom had any prior experience. And budget? This was Liberia, West Africa – a country that still lacks an electrical grid. The kids were forced to use only those things in their immediate disposal: palm trees, grass, dirt, colored-rocks, water, bed sheets, chickens, and, of course, imagination. They had six hours of daylight after school to put the whole production together and shoot it.
Edwin and his classmates lived through one of Africa’s most brutal civil wars and their experiences informed everything they did. They had a message of healing to convey. And although the odds were stacked against, they were determined to prove that they were every bit as capable as the Nigerians. Todd Looby, director of the Liberian Slamdance-winning short, “Son of None”, follows Edwin’s effort and makes a big discovery along the way.
Todd Looby is a mostly self-taught, award-winning filmmaker based in Chicago. LEFTY (2009), Todd's second narrative feature, was named one of the "Top 10 Movies of 2009..." by the Chicago Tribune's metromix and is currently being distributed by IndieFlix, Inc. His next film, "Son of None" (2010), was a narrative short shot in Liberia, West Africa. The film won the Special Jury Award at Slamdance 2011 and took home "Best Short Film" at the Boston Film Festival.
In addition to “Lollywood”, Todd is screening his latest narrative feature, Be Good, on the 2013 festival circuit. Be Good stars Amy Seimetz – who will be returning to Sundance this year, starring in two films, Upstream Color and Pit Stop – and Chicago actor, Thomas J. Madden, Joe Swanberg and Looby’s own baby daughter, Tessa. Todd is also adapting the non-fiction book, A Saint on Death Row, written by New York TimesBestselling author, Thomas Cahill - into a narrative feature film. Finally, Todd is in postproduction on Solo Madres: Stories of the Families Left Behind (2013) - a feature documentary he and his wife shot in Honduras