In the Shadow of the Sun
"One of the many things we have had to learn is to live in danger."
Filmed over six years, In the Shadow of the Sun tells the story of two men with albinism in Tanzania pursuing their dreams in the face of virulent prejudice. In the midst of an escalation in brutal murders of people with albinism, we meet Josephat Torner. Josephat decides to confront the communities where the killings are taking place saying, "I need to change society so it can accept me." Along the way, he visits Ukerewe Island. He finds 62 people with albinism living there, including 15-year-old Vedastus. Vedastus, whose mother was told to kill him when he was born, has been bullied out of school and rejected by his community. But Vedastus dreams of returning to get an education. Dedicating his life to campaigning against this sort of discrimination against people with albinism–segregated from society and deprived of education–Josephat becomes a mentor to Vedastus. Through his intimate portrait of Vedastus and Josephat, filmmaker Harry Freeland reveals a story of deep-rooted superstition, heartfelt suffering, and incredible strength. Official Selection International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 2012
Like the discrimination faced by people with many kinds of disabilities, discrimination against people with albinism is often based on societal prejudices and superstition, and can result in marginalisation and violence. Working closely with local disabled peoples' organisations around the world, Human Rights Watch has documented a wide range of abuses against persons with disabilities. Many of the world's one billion individuals with disabilities struggle for access to education and employment, for the right to live in the community instead of being locked up in institutions, to express their sexuality and have children, and to participate in political and social life. People with disabilities often face increased rates of violence and discrimination, yet they remain invisible in their communities.