HOW TO STEAL A COUNTRY
Feature length: 93 min
Directed by Rehad Desai
This is the story of the Gupta family’s spectacular rise from flea market shoe salesmen to establishing a massive black owned business empire in South Africa. It runs as a suspenseful detective story uncovering one huge bribery scandal after another, involving the top echelons of political power and several well-known multinational corporations.
Our story begins by showing how the three Gupta brothers ensconce themselves with President Jacob Zuma, allowing them within 10 years of arriving from India to become multi-millionaires, primarily through lucrative state contracts. They then buy an uranium mine, attracting the attention of British and US intelligence agencies. Next, the finance minister is fired, which we reveal is over his refusal to sign an irregular nuclear deal with Russia and several leading political figures go public, describing how the Gupta’s are directing critical government affairs. There’s a flurry of fake news, dodgy intelligence reports and attacks on journalists, in defence of ‘radical economic transformation’.
When a second ‘uncooperative’ finance minister is fired, his speech on the steps of the Treasury is the first time a senior member of the ANC appeals to the public to defend South Africa’s hard won democracy.
Then come the #GuptaLeaks, a trove of over 300,000 emails and documents akin to the Panama Papers, laying bare the modus operandi of the Guptas and their associates, more dangerous than anyone could have imagined. Taking us from one family, to a president, to a captured state, to the central role of unscrupulous multinationals, the escalating layers of this story unfold like a Shakespearean tragedy that will hold up a mirror to many countries facing similar circumstances today.
Rehad Desai is a Producer/Director who runs his own company Uhuru Productions. Following his return from political exile in the UK Rehad worked as a trade union organiser, a health and safety/media officer for a chemical workers union and a Director of a HIV prevention NGO. In 1997 he completed his Masters Degree in Social History at the University of the Witwatersrand. Rehad then entered the TV and film industry as a current affairs journalist, and soon after moved on to focus his energy on historical and socio -political documentary film.
In 2009 he completed a post graduate diploma in documentary through Eurodoc. He has produced over 20 documentaries, many directed by himself that have been broadcast internationally, accepted into numerous festivals and been received with critical acclaim. His last film Miners Shot Down has won local and international critical acclaim garnering over 25 prizes including the Taco Keiper award for investigative journalism and an International Emmy for best documentary. He is also a well known social justice activist that chairs the Human Rights Media Trust and the South Africa Screen Federation
Everything Must Fall 48, 58 and 84 min (Director/Producer)
An unflinching look at the #FeesMustFall student movement that burst onto the South African political landscape in 2015 as a protest over the cost of education, and morphed into the most militant national revolt since the country’s first democratic elections in 1994. The story is told by four student leaders at Wits University and their Vice Chancellor, Adam Habib, a left-wing, former anti-apartheid student activist. When Habib’s efforts to contain the protest fail, he brings 1000 police on to campus. There are dire consequences for the young leaders: Mcebo Dlamini is arrested and charged with serious offences, Shaeera Kalla is shot 13 times with rubber-coated bullets; others, fearing the involvement of the state security agencies, are forced into hiding.
The Giant is Falling 48, 58 and 77 min (Director/Producer)
A sweeping look at the big political events of recent years that signify the end of an era in South Africa. With declining popularity at the polls and the real possibility of losing the comfortable majority the party has enjoyed for two decades, the big debate in South Africa is whether or not the party can recover its reputation as the most respected liberation movement in the world? Partners: ZDF Arte, DRTV, NRK, EO IKON DOCS, Bertha Foundation, Bread for the World
Best South African Film Johannesburg Film Festival – Shown at 37 Film Festivals to date
Miners Shot Down 86 and 52 min (Director/Producer)
In August 2012, mineworkers in one of South Africa’s biggest platinum mines began a wildcat strike for better wages. Six days later, the police used live ammunition to brutally suppress the strike, killing 34 and injuring many more. Using the POV of the Marikana miners, Miners Shot Down, follows the strike from day one, showing the courageous but isolated fight waged by a group of low paid workers against the combined forces of the mining company, Lonmin, the ANC government and their allies in the National Union of Mineworkers. What emerges is collusion at the top, spiralling violence and the country’s first post-apartheid massacre. South Africa will never be the same again. NFVF, Ford Foundation, Bertha Foundation, 9 international public broadcasters, and Al Jazeera English and North America. To date shown at over 80 festivals, won 28 festival prizes/awards including an International Emmy in 2015.
Battle for Johannesburg 52 and 72 min (Director/Producer)
The Battle for Johannesburg captures the changing face of Johannesburg as efforts to turn back the clock on more than ten years of decay are underway. It’s a tale of eager property developers vying for sections of the crumbling metropolis, of a city council determined to create a city that’s world class and ultimately of how this affects the hundreds of thousands of people who have, out of necessity, made the slums their home. IKON, YLE, TV2, NHK, SABC, PRESS TV, NFVF.
THE WAR OF HEADS 75 min (Director/Producer)
Historical Drama with documentary elements. SABC/NFVF/Uhuru co- production Format HD. The story of the Bhambatha rebellion is one of resistance, heroism and ultimately of violent colonial conquest. SABC, NFVF.
BUSHMANS SECRET 52 and 64min (Director/Producer)
A documentary that looks at the exploitation of the intellectual property rights of the San Tribe in South Africa by the multinational Unilever, the concessions gained and the consequences thereof. YLE, TV2, IKON, ZDF-Arte, RBTF, SABC, NFVF, CWCI, EED Germany. Shown at 20 Film Festivals, awards Durban International Film Festival, Palmares, Brazil.
BORN INTO STRUGGLE 52 and 75min (Director/Producer)
A personal documentary about the filmmaker’s relationship to his well known father, a leader in the South African liberation movement, set against the backdrop of the struggle for South Africa and the transition to democracy. YLE , SBS, TV2, NRK, RBTF SABC, Jan Vrijman Fund, Africalia, NFVF, European Union CWCI, Fond Image Afrique, Mott Foundation
Shown at over 40 International Film Festivals:
Encounters Documentary Film Festival 2004. Best South African documentary Audience Award
Apollo Film Festival South Africa 2004 – Winner
World Cinema Festival Cape Town 2004 – Winner
Cannes Film Festival – official selection 2005 –
Durban Int. Film Festival Special Mention 2005