Who We Are
Banker White and Anna Fitch are a husband and wife producing team based in San Francisco. They produce documentary films that explore critical issues of our time and collaborate with filmmakers from underserved communities to tell important stories.
WeOwnTV: Sierra Leone
“The experience of sharing my story has totally changed my life,” Alhaji Jeffrey “Black Nature” Kamara, co-founder WeOwnTV.
WeOwnTV debuted it’s first education workshop in Sierra Leone in January 2009 as a continuation of seven years of collaboration between North American Filmmakers and humanitarian organizations in the region.
In 2002, Banker White began working on the documentary film Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars (2006) with Zach Niles and Chris Velan. The film won more than a dozen international film festival awards and has been viewed by millions via broadcast television in North America, Latin America, Europe, Japan, Korea, South Africa and Uganda. Experiencing the inspiration this story has brought to the people of Sierra Leone and war-torn communities around the world. The positive impact of the documentary was Banker White’s inspiration to continue making films about critical issues and to continue his work in Sierra Leone.
The idea behind WeOwnTv’s work in Sierra Leone is that no one is more qualified to help Sierra Leone than Sierra Leoneans themselves. WeOwnTV: Sierra Lenoe aims to build on this spirit of self-reliance as community members, specifically young men and women affected by more than a decade of war, are given the opportunity to create their own stories in their own words. Project participants are encouraged to look within to find their voice. The oral traditions that exist within Sierra Leonean culture has informed the storytelling enabled by newly acquired skills of film and video production.
WeOwnTV launched it’s first program in Sierra Leone by facilitating a month-long filmmaking workshop for 18 young men and women just outside the capital city Freetown. For the inaugural class of WeOwnTV: Sierra Leone, workshop participants were selected not based on technical skills or prior experience, but on the enthusiasm, eloquence and sense of purpose each of them exhibited during the interview process. Many participants had never had a camera or touched a computer and many had not finished school, but they each demonstrated an incredible strength and resolve in overcoming tragic circumstances. The aspiring filmmakers came from all areas of the country: the diamond-mining district of Kono, the dusty small town of Makeni (a rebel stronghold druing the war) and from the hardscrabble slums of the country’s capital city, Freetown. The group includes ex-combatants, former child prostitutes, street children and physically disabled individuals all of whom showed they have a remarkable gift to give in their creativity. WeOwnTv provides continued technical support, encouragement and training that will allow these young adults to produce media, and share their creative voice with the world.