Film about Zambian forest hero wins forum on forest short film

The filmmaking team Makhulu has won the UN Forum on Forests Short Film award for the Africa region. Director of Makhulu, Rowan Pybus, was in Turkey for the UN Forum on Forests and received the prestigious award on behalf of his team (himself, Sydelle Willow Smith and Kyla Herrmannsen worked on this film) in April during the “Forests for People” Awards ceremony.

The winning film for Africa, Amazing Grace, was made during Greenpop’s first Trees for Zambia project in 2012 and tells the story of Lloyd Manyana, a Zambian man who stopped cutting down trees for charcoal and started growing and caring for them — he is now one of Greenpop’s tree sapling suppliers and partners.

Makhulu is Greenpop’s media partner and has been making short films in partnership with the South African and Zambian based social enterprise since they began in September 2010.

Of the award Rowan Pybus says, “To be in Istanbul is to be here for Zambia to share the example of a great Zambian man. Lloyd Manyana is a shining example for all Zambians to look up. This film seeks to use his story as a means for others to decide to find a way to stop the deforestation sustainably in and around Victoria Falls, Zambia and Africa as a whole. Makhulu’s mission is to tell people’s stories and inspire on-the-ground changes through these. This film is part of a larger vision to make a feature length documentary in collaboration with our partners, Greenpop, called Falling Forests – and this recognition makes me believe we can do it. Thank you very much to the UNFF.”

Amazing Grace was one step in Makhulu’s greater plan to make a feature length documentary called Falling Forests. Filming for this is in progress and Makhulu is seeking partners to come on board and assist in making this happen.

Misha Teasdale, co-founder and one of the directors of Greenpop, joined Rowan in Istanbul, engaging with people in the forest field and potential partners for future projects. “This film is very special for Greenpop as it was made by our talented partners, Makhulu, as part of our first Trees for Zambia Action event which launched our ongoing project in Zambia. Lloyd Manyana has been an inspiration to our team and we are working with him and others like him to inspire a greener future for Zambia. The country has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world but it also has huge potential to turn this situation around. Greenpop’s goals are to build up a holistic reforestation, urban tree planting, solar cooking and environmental education project with valuable partners and collaborations – we want to include planting, protection and awareness around the forest assets and highlight their incredible value. Our approach is not one of doom and gloom – instead we take an active stance to issues and strive to activate communities to make sustainable changes through inspiring, appealing and aspirational interventions. There are heros doing great positive work and it is their stories that make changes – we hope to help spread these stories through film and media (with Makhulu) as well as offering action based projects on the ground to reconnect people with nature.”

Watch Makhulu’s short film ‘Amazing Grace’

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Makhulu website:

Trees for Zambia webpage:

Greenpop website: