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Stolen (2009)

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Filmmakers Fallshaw and Ayala's journey of discovery among Saharawi refugees turns into a political thriller.


Violeta Ayala (story and screenplay), Dan Fallshaw (story and screenplay)
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Filmmakers Violeta Ayala and Dan Fallshaw travel to North Africa intending to make one film only to discover a hidden truth that takes them on a journey they could never have imagined. The story follows a Saharawi refugee separated from her mother, since she was a toddler, and reunited through a UN family reunion program. The reunion reveals a secret and the film quickly spirals into another world. It becomes difficult to distinguish who are the good guys, as the 'good guys' turn bad and the 'bad guys' appear to do good. Written by Dan Fallshaw and Violeta Ayala

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Official Sites:

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Hassanya | Spanish | English

Release Date:

March 2010 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Born in Captivity See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR (Dolby 5.1)
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User Reviews

The doc that was nearly Stolen
12 October 2010 | by riisberg-543-829501See all my reviews

I just saw this at Raindance in London and can only conclude that the votes given (placing it at 4.5) must be somewhat politically motivated - which apparently follows this doc around. As a stand alone documentary this is an engaging view - and is a story that works on at least three levels - on one level it is a story about a family reunion, on another level it is a highly explosive political movie about cultural practice and slavery today and on yet another level it is a movie about film makers getting caught in the middle of something they had no intention of being apart of in the first place (partly due to a little naïveté). This movie is worth seeing alone for the last level, which places the movie makers themselves at great risk, and in a heartbreaking moral dilemma where they do not want to make life difficult for their subjects - but they know they have to bring this story to light to at least try and stop what is happening, even if they run the risk of hurting people they care for in the process. With both smuggled and stolen tapes, political pressure and obvious corruption standing in the way it is a bit of a miracle that his film made it at all - you might say it came close to be stolen itself.

But for me the most explosive point was not in the doc, but the analysis Ayala offered during the Q&A at Raindance - she simply said that conflicts and cultural practices like for instance slavery and the situation in the Saharan lands between Algeria and Morocco means lots of jobs to lots of people - even in the UN and aid organizations, so nobody really has any real interest in stopping what goes on - if you apply this to the rest of the world, she seems to have an eerie point, because more than ever, and on all levels conflict and strife does seem to make the world go around...

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