Daan Veldhuizen’s ‘Stories from Lakka Beach’ is a soulful and thoughtful collection of human stories and serene cinematography of life in a small fishing village at a time of change in post conflict Sierra Leone.

Following the half dozen characters as they describe their challenging livelihoods and the change going on around them, you get a strong sense of a peaceful country rebuilding and the lessons learnt from a dark past.

Having spent time over the last few years down the coast at John Obey Beach building a sustainable tourism community, the empathy I felt watching was significant; especially in terms of the aspirations of Isaac, Aminata, Alpha and co. We also know that there are threats to the rebuilding process of these communities – the road may bring business but takes sand from the beaches to build; the new housing may bring better quality of life – but will destroy parts of the forested hills behind the village bringing erosion and flooding. It is a fragile time in terms of resource management. At least it is a peaceful one.

The pace of the story telling in the film is slow – almost frustratingly at times – and as a result the viewer gets an authentic sense of of life on Lakka Beach. It is ‘small small’, tough, beautiful, hopeful and a scrap for every last Leone. For all these things Daan, his team and stars of Lakka should be congratulated – this is an honest and rewarding portrayal of a place and people with an opportunity to finally choose their future.

Film Synopsis

In Lakka, a picturesque beach village in post-conflict Sierra Leone, five villagers reveal the deepest and most profound moments of their lives. They tell stories about the ocean and the land, about war, love, hope, religion and about foreigners; tourism on the white heavenly beaches is nothing to what it was in the 1980s. Visitors stay away because of the recent war, a painful memory that the inhabitants are trying to forget. This is a story about life after war.

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