TIFF Docs

Silas

Anjali Nayar, Hawa Essuman

Silas 01

Anjali Nayar and Hawa Essuman profile the life of Liberian activist Silas Siakor, a tireless crusader against illegal logging and a symbol of resistance for a new generation.

As part of the TIFF Speaker Series, scholar Teresa Kramarz will join the filmmaker for an extended conversation at the second public screening.

Liberian activist Silas Siakor is a tireless crusader against illegal logging. He's watched multinational corporations wreak havoc on the environment while enriching themselves and impoverishing Liberians. This kind of corruption has gone on for so long that it can induce fatigue. But Silas is a tribute to the power of citizens to fight back.

Filmmakers Anjali Nayar and Hawa Essuman chronicle Siakor's life over five years. He comes from a family of modest means but he is rich in determination and ingenuity. After living through 25 years of civil war and upheaval, he established the Sustainable Development Institute to advocate for protecting the country's resources. He and other activists venture to remote areas to document abuses with their cellphone cameras. (The film's co-director Nayar created the information-sharing app TIMBY that has aided their work.)

Siakor's investigations shed a critical light on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who came to power in 2006 on a wave of international goodwill. Siakor once shared hopes about her presidency but grew dismayed by ties between her relatives and logging interests.

While other documentaries take a global perspective on environmental threats, Silas gains power from its specific focus on one country. Siakor and his acupuncturist wife, Marlay, make an impressive partnership, displaying humour and resilience, exemplifying a new generation of resistance.

THOM POWERS

Part of the Our Digital Future film series, presented by SAP

Silas Siakor is just one character in a global network of citizens using mobile technology and social media to fight corruption and change the status quo. By radically reshaping communication, social media has changed how we organize ourselves and our relationships with other members of society.

Explore how digital technology will continue to affect our daily lives now and in the future — and reimagine a better tomorrow at sap.com/our-digital-future.

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