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Colours of the Alphabet

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Alastair Cole

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Author(s): Cole A

Publication type: Digital or Visual Media

Publication status: Published

Year: 2016

Extent of Work: 80mins

Publisher: Lansdowne Productions, Tongue Tied Films, DER

Place Published: 2016 Glasgow Film Festival

Type: Feature Documentary Film

Format: DCP

Credits: Producer: Professor Nick Higgins, Editor: Colin Monie, Music: Victoria Wijeratne, Sound: Rob Walker

URL: http://www.coloursofthealphabet.com/

Notes: A documentary film-based research project filmed during 12 months in Zambia. It focuses on research themes of linguistic diversity, multilingualism and the global issue of the lack of mother-tongue primary education. The wider research project also engages with documentary practice themes of: multilingual subtitling, narrativisation in observational film, valuation processes in editing. The 80-minute feature documentary film, directed by the Dr Alastair Cole, had a sold out premiere at the Glasgow Film Festival. It was released across 11 cinemas in May 2016. It is currently touring cinemas and film festivals both in the UK and internationally. Film synopsis: A beautiful, inspiring and bittersweet documentary film on language and childhood. It follows three Zambian children and their families during their first year of school. It asks, does the future have to be in English? Steward, Elizabeth and M’barak are three first-time pupils in rural Zambia. They struggle to make sense of an educational system where the language they speak at home is different from the language used in the classroom. They slowly discover that their tongue is no longer their own. Nearly 40% of the world’s population lack access to education in their own language. The film offers an intimate, moving and often humorous insight into a global phenomenon from the unique perspective of three innocent children. Steward, Elizabeth and M’barak are three first time school pupils in rural Zambia who struggle to make sense of an educational system where the language they speak at home is different from the language used in the classroom. Moments of perplexed incomprehension, both comedic and tragic ensue, as the children slowly come to terms with the fact that their tongue is no longer their own. At a time when nearly 40% of the world’s population lack access to education in their own language, Colours of the Alphabet offers an intimate and moving insight into a global phenomenon from the unique perspective of three innocent children.


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