How The Documentary Journey Began…

Watch the trailer above.

Documentary filmmaker Jeff Spitz (The Return of Navajo Boy) explains how this unlikely documentary journey began:

“I first came to Robben Island, now a world heritage site, as a tourist in 2001. My tour was led by a black ex-prisoner who told us why he joined the fight against apartheid. I expected that narrative. What I didn’t expect was a story about prison inmates reshaping a place of banishment into their own university of struggle, teaching each other and their jailers about a better future for their country… My tour guide’s closing remarks seared my conscience. He reminded us that in order to build a new South Africa people would have to learn from Mandela’s example how to forgive. And then teach others.”

Before leaving, Spitz stopped at the museum’s gift shop and bought a CD titled “Prison Songs, Cell Stories.” After listening to the music back home in his native Chicago, he was intrigued and wanted to learn more about the men and the stories behind their songs. And that’s where the documentary, set for release in 2010, began. Spitz teamed up with South African contributing director Mickey Madoda Dube (pictured with Spitz, below) to get the story behind the songs, and to bring the Singers to America. You can help us build this documentary in progress here!