Archives / 2014 Sundance Film Festival

We Come as Friends

Film Still Film Still

Director: Hubert Sauper

Screenwriters: Hubert Sauper

Institute History

  • 2014 Sundance Film Festival

Description

World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematic Bravery


As war-ravaged South Sudan claims independence from North Sudan and its brutal President, Omar al-Bashir, a tiny, homemade prop plane wings in from France. It is piloted by eagle-eyed documentarian Hubert Sauper, who is mining for stories in a land trapped in the past but careening toward an apocalyptic future.

Like his flying machine, Sauper intuitively zooms in for close-ups and out for perspective, yielding shocking and profound insights about the contours of contemporary colonialism. A Chinese company extracts 300,000 barrels of oil a day as locals outside its gates die from water poisoned by the plant. Texas missionaries set up shop—erecting fences, issuing solar-powered electronic bibles, and insisting on clothing naked villagers. Encounters with opinionated Sudanese citizens, U.N. workers, an elder who has unwittingly signed away 600,000 hectares of community land, or financiers at a Sudanese investment summit bring into focus foreign fantasies—insidious and overt, with or without guns—of possessing Africa. Brimming with visual metaphor and grounded in honest human contact, We Come as Friends is an electrifying collage of horrifying, but sometimes poetic, contradictions.

— C.L.

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email archives@sundance.org