Beatrice Mtetwa and the Rule of Law
"Beatrice Mtetwa and the Rule of Law" features one of the bravest lawyers in Africa -- Beatrice Mtetwa in Zimbabwe. In spite of beatings by police, Mtetwa has courageously defended in court those jailed by the Mugabe government: peace activists, journalists, opposition candidates, farmers that had their land confiscated, and ordinary citizens that had the courage to speak up.
Through interviews with Beatrice Mtetwa and some of her defendants, the film tells the story of what happens when rulers place themselves above the law and why defense of the rule of law is a crucial step in the building of a civil society. Although Mtetwa's arena is Zimbabwe, her message and bravery are universal. The filmmakers hope that the film will spark dialogue and change in Zimbabwe and throughout Africa, while also bringing the story of this inspiring woman to the attention of the rest of the world.
Beatrice Mtetwa is the recipient of several international awards including: the Inamori Prize for Ethics, the International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the International Human Rights Award from the American Bar Association Section of Litigation. Beatrice Mtetwa is the only African besides Nelson Mandela to receive the Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize from France.
Beatrice Mtetwa and the Rule of Law is supported by grants from the U.S. Institute for Peace, the Bertha BRIT DOC Foundation, the International Bar Association, the Guardian's Scott Trust, the Lucy Sprague Memorial Fund, and many small donations.
Lorie Conway, a Boston based filmmaker, is the writer, producer and director of the film. In January and June 2012, she traveled to Zimbabwe to film with the main character -- human rights attorney, Beatrice Mtetwa. During the two trips, Conway also interviewed several of Mtetwa's defendants. She also traveled with Mtetwa to film at her family homestead in rural Swaziland. Mtetwa is the eldest daughter of over 50 children; her father had six wives.
While in Zimbabwe, Conway worked with Hopewell Chin'Ono, a Zimbabwean filmmaker who is a co-producer on the film.
Thomas Mapfumo, the legendary Zimbabwean musician and political activist, provides the soundtrack for the film.