Co-production from the UK and Malawi, Lazarus is directed by Academy Award and Emmy nominated Brit David Darg and executive produced by Madonna. We know of her link with the country and now we see she is not only invested in the people of Malawi, but the music of the African nation.
The subject of the 26 minute short film is Lazarus Chigwandali, a street musician with albinism. Malawi is part of sub-Saharan Africa. A region of Africa in which some inhabitants believe that the body parts of those who have albinism can be used in witchcraft. As a result, there is a black market demand for those body parts. Body parts which go for hundreds to thousands of U.S. dollars. What I am trying to delicately say is that albinos are being hunted down, captured and killed.
Lazarus is married and father of two boys with albinism. His wife is worried every time they go out to play. Lazarus performs on the street and in front of big crowds. He is using music to fight against the killing of people with albinism. Alongside this a campaign is happening in the U.N. for protection for albinos in Africa.
His life has been hard. Kidnapped himself as a child, Lazarus turned to music, which he started playing at the age of 10, to help him deal with his reality. Brings people together with his music as well as supports his family financially. Wants a bigger stage to tell the tale of those with albinism in Africa. Is now working with British music producer John Hugo, who has worked with Mumford & Sons, to record an album.
The short’s world premiere happened at Tribeca. It is a film made for a scant $100,000 budget. Depth and completeness can be made without spending of a lot of money. Sheds light on a story that most of us in this part of the world would not really have been exposed to or believed is reality. A reality and hidden away from the rest of the world. Films like this are vital.
Lazarus’s story is filled with both darkness and lightness. Sadness and hope. A beautiful kind of story which reinforces your belief that despite all that is going on in the world which seems evil, there are always people who are going to fight against it. Fight against what is essentially a genocide. The film has as a goal to normalize albinism, so it ends the hunting of them.