Jarenlang teisterden Somalische piraten de golf van Aden, het water ten noorden van de Hoorn van Afrika. Ze kaapten honderden schepen en kregen miljoenen euro’s aan losgeld. Hoe kon piraterij zo’n groot probleem worden? En hoe kan het dat we er nu nagenoeg niets meer over horen?
In Last Hijack Interactive onderzoeken we het fenomeen aan de hand van één voorbeeld: de kaping van de sleepboot Svitzer Korsakov, die anderhalve maand in handen was van Somalische piraten. De piraat en de kapitein vertellen over hun ervaringen, maar ook hun familie, journalisten, advocaten en onderhandelaars in zowel Somalië als het Westen vertellen over de opkomst en de ondergang van de Somalische piraterij. De interactieve film biedt op deze manier een unieke kijk op een duistere wereld. Last Hijack Interactive is een aanvulling op de documentaire Last Hijack van Femke Wolting en Tommy Pallotta, die ook geproduceerd werd door Submarine.
• Prix Europa for Best Online Project of the Year 2014
• 2 awards at Tous Ecrans Festival in Geneva for Best International Transmedia Production 2014 by the youth jury and the regular jury
• Dutch Directors Guild Award for Best Interactive Production
• Winner of the INTERNATIONAL DIGITAL EMMY® AWARD
Exploring both sides of the story, Last Hijack Interactive allows you to uncover the complex realities behind piracy in Somalia though the eyes of a pirate and a captain, an advocate and a journalist, a lawyer and a security expert.
Combining live-action video and animation, the interactive experience gives the user the opportunity to navigate the real stories of these people, building to the hijack itself and the resulting aftermath. What are the causes and consequences of piracy? And what is the impact of piracy in Somalia and in Western countries?
Explore all the content yourself or choose one of the selected video paths and watch the selected videos one after another.
DIRECTORS NOTES – TOMMY PALLOTTA & FEMKE WOLTING:
1 – What sparked your interest in the issue of piracy in Somalia, and how did you decide to develop a feature film and an interactive documentary on this subject?
We were watching news reports and the image of these tiny boats versus the huge oil tankers fascinated us. We wondered what drove these men to take such enormous risks. As we researched further and found out about all the underlying aspects of piracy, the waste dumping in the waters around Somalia and the broader impact of piracy on Somalian society we got even more interested. Most media stories and news stories reported on Western ships being hijacked and the experiences of the passengers. That made us curious to know more about the pirates themselves. When we started to look into it, we quickly became fascinated by how the pirates were perceived within their own communities. Until recently they were seen as heroes, as the little guys who fought the big Western ships. And many people also profited from their actions, whether directly or indirectly. But then things began to change. A whole generation of young men disappeared, were thrown in jail or simply vanished at sea. That had an enormous impact on the people who were left behind, the families and the women. People in Somalia turned their backs on the pirates. This tension interested us, and made us to decide to make a film from the perspective of the pirates and their families.
2- Was it clear from the start that this film would be something else than a ‘classic’ documentary?
We clicked with the subject because we immediately thought it would be ideal to combine animation and documentary footage. We didn’t want to make an observational documentary. Because the hijacks were something you could never be part of. Once we thought of the combination opened up so many possibilities. Through the animation we could view the world through the eyes of the pirates. We could visualize their subjective reality, their dreams, from their memories of the civil war to the hijacks they had undertaken.
We decided to make an interactive companion piece with the film because that enabled us to a different story about piracy. While the film is a personal story, about one pirate and his family, in the interactive documentary we could also address larger themes around illegal fishing,globalization, the effects of a failed state etcetera.
Also the film is told from the Somali perspective, and in the interactive documentary we chose to show both perspectives, the Western and the Somali perspective. You can follow the story of Mohamed, the hijacker or that of Colin Darch, former captain who was hijacked in 2008.
3- Documentary, fiction, animation and interactive media have all been combined frequently throughout both of your filmmaking careers. What inspires this openness to hybrid forms? Do you think these kinds of projects will take on a larger importance in the industry in future years?
We are interested in hybrid forms because they offer so many more possibilities in terms of storytelling. In terms of non-fiction, they challenge the idea of objective reality that a documentary should capture. So LAST HIJACK is a hybrid incorporating live action and animation, but also feature film and documentary. Feature films and documentaries have been made for more then a century, and there are still all these conventions of genres and specific ways to tell a story. We are excited about these new hybrid forms because you can experiment and search for new forms of storytelling that don’ t yet have rules. More and more feature films combine live action, effects and animation to create new worlds, and now that is possible in documentaries too.
5- Somali pirates have lately been represented in several documentary and fiction films (CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, A HIJACKING, STOLEN SEAS, FISHING WITHOUT NETS). What do you think has inspired this widespread interest? Do you have an opinion on the films made as a result, and how is your film different?
Pirates are such an iconic image, something we imagine from old stories and movies, but they still exist in our modern globalized world. I think that’s why it’s a fascinating phenomenon for filmmakers, both for feature film directors as well as documentary filmmakers. We enjoyed films like Captain Phillips as a roller-coaster thriller but these films are made from a purely Western point of view. Last Hijack is the only film that is made from the perspective of the pirates, and actually shot in Somalia. Somalia is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, that’s why hardly anybody actually goes there. All the films mentioned were made elsewhere, in Kenya for example, so they can never be truly representative of the Somali perspective.
6- What was the artistic process for creating the animated sequences? Were there any specific inspirations for the style of the animation?
It was different for every sequence; sometimes it would be a recreation of a memory, sometimes a dream. The challenge of the film was finding the balance between animation and documentary footage finding a way to go in and out without breaking the viewer’s experience. We storyboarded probably about three times as many sequences as we used and it was really a process of trial and error. We would experiment with a storyboard sequence, placing it next to or in between our documentary footage. Then we had to be critical and ask why it was there and how it changed the context of the footage around it. The more subjective and fantastic pieces were, of course, more fun.
9- Did Mohamed open up to the project easily, or was it a process to insure his full participation as well of that of his entourage and family?
It took a long time before we found Mohamed; we researched for about 18 months. We had interviewed and met many pirates, first in Kenya, then in Somalia. Some pirates were not really pirates – there have been a number of reports in the western media about pirates that were interviewed by major news stations, who weren’t actually real pirates, just poor men trying to make a living by pretending for the Western media. Many of the real pirates were afraid of exposing themselves to the media because they eventually hoped to leave Somalia in the future. When we found Mohamed, he was very open because he knew for sure that he never wanted to leave Somalia. He could speak freely without worrying too much about being arrested. We knew he was our main character when we spoke with his parents and discovered that he was planning to get married. His parents were very happy that Mohamed participated in the film. They saw it as a way to take him away from piracy, and that was also part of their motivation for getting involved.
Data visualizations offer facts and figures on every single hijacked ship since 2008; the history of Somalia from 1860 till now; and the illegal fishing practices by giant trawlers that destroyed the local Somali fishing communities. For example, two points of view on the ‘Money Flows’ are revealing, showing that a lot of people and companies in Somalia and the West made a lot of money off the Somali hijacks.
FEMKE WOLTING –DIRECTOR
Femke Wolting is founder and is managing director of Submarine and Submarine Channel, together with Bruno Felix, an independent film and transmedia production company, spanning features, documentaries and animation. Submarine boasts a roster of award-winning productions created in collaboration with an extensive network of international acclaimed directors. Femke has produced, among others, Peter Greenaway’s feature Rembrandt’s J’accuse, award-winning documentaries such as Meet the Fokkens, and Rainmakers; and internationally distributed animation series such as Kika & Bob. Femke has produced groundbreaking transmedia productions such as the Emmy-nominated Collapsus (www.collapsus.com. Recently she founded, together with Bruno Felix and Tommy Pallotta, a new creative production company in Los Angeles, SubLA. The company develops and produces feature films and interactive experiences that explore new forms of storytelling that encompass traditional and emerging media. Most recently Femke produced Peter Greenaway’s latest film, Eisenstein in Guanajuato, that premiered at the Berlinale Film Festival 2015. Last Hijack, a film that Femke Wolting produced and co-directed with Tommy Pallotta, premiered at the Berlinale Film Festival 2014.
TOMMY PALLOTTA – DIRECTOR
Tommy Pallotta is a true industry pioneer who push the boundaries of storytelling. Tommy first connected Richard Linklater with animation when he produced the award-winning feature film Waking Life. He followed up with Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly, starring Keanu Reeves and Robert Downey Jr. He then directed American Prince, a companion documentary to Martin Scorsese’s film American Boy (1978). In 2010, Tommy directed the Emmy nominated transmedia production Collapsus (www.collapsus.com) that won many awards, including the SXSW Interactive Award. Recently he founded, together with Femke Wolting and Bruno Felix, a new creative production company in Los Angeles, SubLA. The company develops and produces feature films and interactive experiences that explore new forms of storytelling that encompass traditional and emerging media. Most recently Tommy co-directed Last Hijack with Femke Wolting which premiered at the Berlinale Film Festival 2014.
JAMAL OSMAN – RESEARCH & INTERVIEWS
Jamal is an award-wining London-based journalist and filmmaker specialising in Africa. He has produced/reported for Channel 4, the Guardian and Aljazeera English. Jamal has won several awards including the Royal Television Society (RTS) Independent Award 2012, the Amnesty International Gaby Rado Memorial Award 2010, the news story of the year prize at the Foreign Press Association (FPA) Awards 2009; the prize for Kingston University News Reporter of the Year 2009; was nominated for the FPA Sports Award 2011, the RTS Independent Award 2010; Amnesty International Media Awards 2009; Rory Peck Impact Award 2009.
AHMED FARAH – DOP
MIRKA DUIJN – INTERACTIVE DIRECTOR
Mirka Duijn is a Dutch-Finnish director working and living in Amsterdam. From 2003 to 2008, she started her career at public broadcasting station VPRO, experimenting with interactive broadcasting and storytelling for television, the web and radio. The kick-start to her career as a director came in 2009, when her short fiction film Manitoba premiered at the IFFR and was screened at the Cannes Film Festival (SFC). Since then she has been working on a wide range of fiction and documentary films, music videos and experimental projects. At the moment she is developing a feature length documentary on the myth of a little Chinese town called Shangri-La.
CHRISTIAAN DE ROOIJ – USER INTERFACE AND VISUAL DESIGN
Christiaan has been a key player as interaction, VFX, graphic, motion graphic, and interaction designer on many of Submarine’s proudest productions over the years, including The Tulse Luper Journey (Europrix Toptalent Award in 2006), Viktor & Rolf: “Because we’re worth it” (Skrien Poster Award nomination), the acclaimed virtual worlds documentary Another Perfect World, and the multiple-award-winning online experiences Collapsus and Last Hijack Interactive. Meanwhile, he keeps himself busy as lead designer on a plethora of Submarine projects.
KREIDLER – COMPOSER
Düsseldorf, Germany-based Kreidler combine catchy, acoustic-based compositions (e.g., guitar, bass, drums) with bizarre electronic tangents, an approach that initially allied them with such American post-rock outfits as Tortoise and Trans Am. The band, formed in 1994 by Thomas Klein, Andreas Reihse, Stefan Schneider, and Detlef Weinrich, debuted with the cassette-only Riva in 1994 and released a pair of discs on the PIAS subsidiary Kiff SM. Schneider left to concentrate on the like-minded To Rococo Rot and was replaced temporarily by Alex Paulick, who played on the band’s self-titled 2000 album, its first for Hamburg’s Wonder label . Kreidler put together a second album for Wonder, 2002’s Eve Future, as well as a remix disc, prior to a break that lasted several years. The band resurfaced with Mosaik 2014 (Italic, 2009) and Tank (Bureau B, 2011), the latter of which featured Paulick’s bass once more, before 2012’s Den switched to a more elegant, chilled-out approach.
The interactive experience is the counterpart to Last Hijack, a feature length film combining animation with documentary storytelling directed by Femke Wolting and Tommy Pallotta.
Last Hijack had a successful festival run (a.o. Berlin Film Festival, South By Southwest, Sheffield DocFest and New York Film Festival) and was released theatrically in a number of countries. The film is now released in the US theatrically and available across all leading VOD platforms including Netflix .
A narrative and documentary journey into the world of one Somali Pirate – Mohamed – exploring how and why he came to live such a brutal and dangerous existence. Animated re-enactments explore Mohamed’s memories, dreams and fears from his point of view while raw documentary footage portrays the harsh and complex reality of Mohamed’s everyday life.
SYNOPSIS ‘LAST HIJACK’:
LAST HIJACK is a true tale of survival in Somalia told from the pirate’s perspective. Combining animation with documentary storytelling, the film takes an innovative hybrid approach to explore how one Somali pirate – Mohamed – came to live such a brutal and dangerous existence. Animated re-enactments exploring Mohamed’s memories, dreams and fears from his point of view are juxtaposed with raw footage from his everyday life in an original non-fiction narrative.
Somalia is the worldwide capital of piracy, and Mohamed is one of Somalia’s most experienced pirates. But in his homeland, a failed state, Mohamed is just another middle-aged man trying to make ends meet. Far removed from the glamour and adventure of the pirates of books and movies, Somali pirates face increasing scrutiny and stigmatization both at home and abroad. Now Mohamed is engaged and both his parents and his in-laws pressure him to change his ways before the big wedding day. Mohamed senses that the golden age of piracy may be coming to an end, and with pressure mounting to provide for his loved ones, he must decide whether to risk everything for one last hijack.
BIO SUBMARINE CHANNEL:
Submarine Channel is the world’s premiere destination for original transmedia documentaries, fiction, and genre-defying entertainment. The future of storytelling is here. Free Your Screen! From studios in Amsterdam and Los Angeles, Submarine Channel creates fresh content that exploits new technologies to tell stories in visually-exciting, multiple format-friendly ways – including motion comics, online games, interactive documentaries, and video portraits about pioneering creatives from all over the world. Submarine Channel is part of the multiple award-winning production outfit Submarine, founded in 2000 by Bruno Felix and Femke Wolting, both pioneers in the Dutch media world.
The Last Hijack Interactive is een interactief project dat de grens opzoekt tussen de disciplines film, animatie en games. Wat maakt een game een game?
Software die oorspronkelijk was bedoeld voor het maken van mod-levels binnen game productie, wordt nu ook als animatiesoftware gebruikt. Wat gebeurt er, als filmmakers worden gevraagd om met deze game software te werken, en als game makers de standaard game thematiek achter zich laten en op zoek gaan naar nieuwe manieren van verhalen vertellen? Ontstaan er nieuwe mediaproducties, die interessant zijn voor een nieuw publiek? Door te zoeken naar nieuwe vormen, en door overlap tussen verschillende disciplines te stimuleren, beoogt dit project game-ervaringen te realiseren die de traditionele videogame-thematiek zoals oorlog, thriller en actie-avontuur achter zich laten.