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CHARCOAL TRAFFIC was a once in a lifetime experience - the chance to travel to Somalia and collaborate with Somalis on something that had never been done before.The landscape and the people are very striking. There is so much beauty in Somalia; its sad that war and conflict dominates their lives.

Our Executive Producer Fatima Jibrell had the vision to make CHARCOAL TRAFFIC, and is working tirelessly to save the environment of her country.

CHARCOAL TRAFFIC is based on actual events of pastoralists being murdered for confronting charcoal gangs destroying their trees, pasture lands and their way of life, which is based on the grazing of animals.

Finding people with previous acting experience was impossible. The Executive Producer Fatima Jibrell activated her extensive network of contacts, found the locations and motivated people to help us. We found the props rummaging around in the open-air market in Bosaso, a port town on the Horn of Africa in northeast Somalia.

EVERYTHING was a challenge. Even getting to Bosaso is very difficult and only possible by small planes operated by humanitarian organizations. All cameras, sound equipment and supplies had to be brought by me and my assistant, Godfrey Ojiambo, from Nairobi, Kenya, within a very restricted baggage allotment.

We had to start filming at dawn, stop shooting before midday, and resume again in late afternoon. It was just too hot to film during the middle of the day.

Among Somalis, we hope that CHARCOAL TRAFFIC will provoke community discussion about charcoal production, environmental destruction and solar cookers as an alternative to using charcoal for household cooking.

For people around the world, my hope is that CHARCOAL TRAFFIC will give audiences a glimpse and an understanding of Somalia from a new perspective.

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