Beatrice Mtetwa and the Rule of Law features one of the bravest lawyers in Africa -- Beatrice Mtetwa in Zimbabwe. In spite of beatings by police, she has courageously defended in court those jailed by the Mugabe governmentpeace activists, journalists, opposition candidates, farmers that had their land confiscated, ordinary citizens that had the courage to speak up. Through interviews with Mtetwa and some of her defendants, the film tells the story of what happens when rulers place themselves above the law and why defense of the rule of law is a crucial step in the building of a civil society. Although Mtetwa's arena is Zimbabwe, her message and bravery are universal.
As Zimbabwe faces a presidential election in 2013, we hope that the film will spark dialogue and change in the country and throughout Africa, while also bringing the story of this inspiring woman to the attention of the rest of the world.
Beatrice Mtetwa is the recipient of several international awards including: the Inamori Prize for Ethics, the International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Human Rights Award from the American Bar Association Section of Litigation; Beatrice Mtetwa is the only African besides Nelson Mandela to receive the Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize from France.
Beatrice Mtetwa and the Rule of Law, is supported by grants from the Bertha BRIT DOC Foundation, the U.S. Institute for Peace, the International Bar Association, and the Guardians Scott Trust Foundation.
Lorie Conway, a Boston based filmmaker, is the writer, producer and director of the film. In January and June, 2012, she traveled to Zimbabwe to film with the main character--human rights attorney, Beatrice Mtetwa. During the two trips, Conway also interviewed several of Mtetwas defendants. She also traveled with Mtetwa to film at her family homestead in rural Swaziland. Mtetwa is the eldest daughter of a father who had six wives and more than 50 children. While in Zimbabwe, Conway worked with Hopewell ChinOno, a Zimbabwean filmmaker who is a co-producer on the film. The other co-producer is Andrew Meldrum, an American journalist who lived in Zimbabwe for two decades, reporting for the Guardian and the Economist. In 2003, despite being acquitted on trumped-up changes, he was forcibly deported by the Mugabe regime for his reporting on the torture of black Zimbabweans. During his trial, Meldrum was represented by Beatrice Mtetwa.