White Shadow is a feature film that sheds a light of the human trade of Albinos in Tanzania. Written by Berlin-based Israeli filmmaker Noaz Deshe, and executively produced by Hollywood actor and film maker Ryan Gosling, the film is based loosely on a real life phenomenon in Tanzania where albinos are believed to possess magical powers. The story was written in a matter of weeks and recorded with unexperienced actors.
WHITE SHADOW is the story of Alias, a young albino boy on the run. After witnessing his father’s murder, his mother sends him away to find refuge in the city. He’s brought to the care of his uncle, Kosmos, a truck driver struggling with a few small businesses. In the city, Alias is a quick learner, selling sunglasses, DVDs and mobile phones. He is fond of his uncle’s daughter, Antoinette, although his uncle disapproves. Gradually the city becomes no different than the bush and wherever Alias travels the same rules of survival apply.
Since 2007 it has become known that Albinos in Tanzania have become a commodity – human targets of a lucrative and sinister trade. Witch doctors offer thousands of dollars for albino body parts which are believed to bring good fortune, prosperity and the ability to cure any illness. As a result, Tanzanian albinos, including children, have been murdered by gangs of men who hack off arms, legs or genitals. Some will pay from $500 to $5000 for an albino limb while the average annual income in Tanzania is $442. There is a saying in East Africa, “Albinos don’t die, they just disappear”. Seventy-three such documented killings have occurred in the past two years as well as hundreds of unreported attacks since 2007.
Executive producer of WHITE SHADOW is the actor and filmmaker Ryan Gosling.
White Shadow will be screening at the San Francisco International Film Festival this weekend.