FROM ZIMBABWE TO SANTA FE

from zimbabwe_2013Three Zimbabwean women, chosen by their villages to go to America to sell their baskets at the world’s largest folk art market, embark upon the universal quest for prosperity.  Will they succeed? What is success anyway?  Without ever leaving Zimbabwe, our heroines repeatedly encounter the schism between first-world expectations and third-word capacity.  The differences in language, living standards, socio-political structures and the notion of time often seem irreconcilable. Yet, when the canyon between their world and ours appears widest, our shared humanity sparkles, thanks to the bridge built by our heroines’ humor, creativity and courage. We come to realize that the myriad of challenges these women face are the same challenges all small business people around the world face:  National policies, local politics, pricing, supply line kinks, limited markets, poor communications, egos and no working capital.The documentary, ‘From Zimbabwe to Santa Fe,’ combines cinema vérité, our heroines’ own narratives and each community’s distinctive musical score to paint an intimate portrait of orphan-Matron, working mom-Sindiso and the sage-Gogo as they journey toward prosperity. Evocative supporting characters enrich the documentary’s texture:  Non-governmental organizations that link the communities to the outside world, government bureaucrats who help and hinder, village leaders and community members who highlight each community’s distinctive personality and finally, the specter of prosperity, villain/savior – the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market. The filmmakers used their unprecedented access to two rural Zimbabwean communities to capture a backdrop day-to-day life across the seasons over two years.