Winner 2007

Independent Lens: Sisters in Law

Vixen Films and Independent Television Service (ITVS)

Documentary filmmakers remind us that the world is not everywhere the same, not as familiar as our own taken-for-granted experiences, not always as we wish it to be. With their cameras and microphones, they observe and record, comment and teach. Sisters in Law, presented under the Independent Lens banner, does all this as it takes us into Kumba, a small town in Cameroon. In Kumba, there have been no convictions for spousal abuse in 17 years, despite wide-spread knowledge that such abuse takes place. Director Kim Longinotto and co-director Florence Ayisi observe and record the work of women who change these things. State Prosecutor Vera Ngassa and Court President Beatrice Ntuba succeed in convicting two men of abusing their wives and oversee cases of child abuse and rape. These strong women strengthen other women. They use the law to challenge, and perhaps change, custom and tradition. They prove that even though cultures differ, basic rights and obligations must remain. For capturing the bravery of women who know their rights and the resolve of women who seek to preserve those rights, Independent Lens: Sisters in Law receives a Peabody Award.


Executive producers: Kim Longinotto, Sally Jo Fifer. Producer: Kim Longinotto. Directors: Kim Longinotto, Florence Ayisi (Co-director). Subjects: Vera Ngassa (State prosecutor), Beatrice Ntuba (Court president).