Burden on the Land

60 minutes • Documentary • Produced in association with: Roger Pyke Productions, in association with Global TV and CIDA • Production year: 1990

Millions of Africans will suffer from the effects of drought. Yet despite this overwhelming tragedy, very little is known about the roots of famine and the ways to avert it. Burden on the Land avoids the horrors of recent droughts and concentrates on the real problems of social structure, living patterns, women’s roles, education, public health, fuel, water, transportation, deforestation, desertification and appropriate agriculture.

Films about Africa usually oscillate between sensationalistic footage and dull academic lectures. The former evokes feelings of despair, and the latter simply bores. In contrast, Burden on the Land combines the intellectual depth of an educational film with the quickness, pacing, graphics and sophistication of television journalism.

Filmed in Malawi, Rwanda, Burundi, Zaire, Ivory Coast, Mali, Ethiopia and Uganda, our footage ranges from sexy North American fashion shows for African relief to the projects they help in Africa, from a grueling marathon for Africa to Africa itself. The film takes viewers on a tour deep into the rainforests of Zaire, the slums of Goma, the ancient wonder that is Timbuktu, and the modern skyscrapers of Abidjan. It ranges from exotic dancing in Malawi, to modern factories in the Ivory Coast, to deserted Mozambican villages caught in the crossfire of civil war.

Burden on the Land is a visually stunning and intellectually gripping look at Africa as it faces the 21st century.

Directed by: Roger Pyke
Written by: Elliott Halpern
Producers: Henry Gold, Simcha Jacobovici and Roger Pyke
Associate Producer: Ric Esther Bienstock
Executive Producer: Simcha Jacobovici

Award highlights:

  • American Film & Video Festival, 1991
  • Silver Award, Houston International Film Festival, 1991
  • National Educational Film & Video Festival, 1991
  • Golden Gate Awards, San Francisco Film Festival, 1991