Directors: Leah Borromeo and Katharine Round
Interactive Director: Gilbert Sinnott
Client: Victoria & Albert Museum
1960s and 1970s apartheid South Africa saw anti-apartheid leaders like Nelson Mandela jailed or killed for their resistance to a racist regime. African National Congress activists such as Ronnie Kasrils were exiled abroad - often to London. These exiles recruited young men and women from university and activist circles to carry out secret missions in South Africa. Using their white privilege and everyday items such as buckets and kitchen timers, they constructed ‘leaflet bombs’ to disseminate thousands of messages of resistance to black South Africans, turning the apartheid system against itself.
This experiential and interactive documentary from Disobedient Films [Leah Borromeo, Katharine Round, Gilbert Sinnott], originally commissioned for the V&A, was designed to be disobedient in both form and content. By using the internet ‘pop-up’ as a narrative device, the film echoes the distribution of leaflets. The messages of resistance in this case are the testimonies of the men and women who risked their lives to play their part in the long road to freedom.
Featuring interviews with those who took part, from the mastermind of the operation, to the printers of the leaflets, to the people who set off the leaflet bombs, this immersive and interactive film takes viewers across multiple parallel narratives. As they navigate through the story of the mission, at key points the viewer has the option to choose which narrative they follow. Viewers can either watch all of the narratives, or select a particular strand. Any chosen route takes the viewer to a leaflet maker to write their own message and share it with friends and other viewers. Dedicated viewers are rewarded with a number of hidden stories, picture and poster galleries and photomontages from Peter Kennard.
"“We wanted to explore how digital media can tell multiple narratives, allowing viewers to understand the incredible story of the London Recruits from different perspectives. The result is a rich fusion of documentary and interactive storytelling where the format helps convey the secretive, surprising nature of the Recruits’ work.” Kati Price, Head of Digital Media, V&A"