The Film

Over the course of more than three years, director Camilla Nielsson, has been up close in the inner circles of politics in President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. Following one of Africa’s bloodiest elections, the opposition is trying to wrest power from the longtime autocratic ruler, and lead the country into a modern democracy – not through violence but through democratic means – and in collaboration with the President’s henchmen. It can go either way – toward liberation, or toward renewed repression. With the process of creating Zimbabwe’s first democratic constitution as the film’s narrative backbone, DEMOCRATS tells the unique story of a political elite fighting the battle over the founding principles defining the country’s possible future. All while the dictator’s anti-democratic forces are still at play.


“Even the slyest political satire couldn’t outdo this riveting docu study of Zimbabwe’s troubled coalition government.” – Variety

“Outstanding, urgent, vivid… Finally a film that deserves to be called necessary.” – New York Times

“As excellent a documentary about politics as you will ever see.” – Village Voice


Director’s Note

by Camilla Nielsson

To be granted the kind of access I had, to film as Zimbabwe wrote its constitution, is a privilege most filmmakers can only dream. I’ve often pondered what would happen if a Zimbabwean came to my country, Denmark, a self-proclaimed pioneer of freedom of speech and asked for permission to film a similarly sensitive political process. I’m sure he or she would be politely rejected. The photo above was taken the only time in three years I was asked to leave the room. Luckily nothing important to my story was missed at that moment. When we had finished the filming process, I asked the protagonists why they had been so extremely trusting of me. They replied: “We were skeptical at first but after a while your camera became an important witness to the process. Almost like a reverse Stockholm syndrome.” While Democrats currently faces a regrettable ban by the Zimbabwean Censorship Board, I nevertheless hope that this film honourably reciprocates the trust of all the people who participated in its making. A luta continua!


For download



Press Material

Cover Art



Variety: Film Review: ‘Democrats’

The New York Times: Review: ‘Democrats,’ Chronicling Politics in Zimbabwe

filmcomment: Make It Real: On Characters and Democrats

filmcomment: Festivals: IDFA

filmcomment: Local Heroes – A slimmer, fitter Tribeca comes back home

The Village Voice: Thrilling Doc ‘Democrats’ Exposes Terrible Political Truths

Vulture: Zimbabwean Documentary Democrats Makes Politics Mesmerizing

Indiewire: Tribeca Review: Documentary Award Winner ‘Democrats’ Examines Corruption And Change In Zimbabwe


New York Post: An unlikely entertaining documentary about dictatorship Democrats

IndieWire: Review: ‘Democrats’ Is A Tragic Look At The Broken Political Process In Zimbabwe

TimeOut: Democrats

The Huffington Post: Democrats

FilmJournal: Film Review: Democrats

Los Angeles Times: Tribeca 2015

Reuters: Documentary ‘Democrats’ explores Zimbabwe’s quest for democracy

Reuters: ‘Virgin Mountain,’ ‘Democrats’ win Tribeca Film Festival prizes

Realscreen: Tribeca ’15: “Democrats” gets top doc feature nod

The New York Times: Tribeca Film Festival: ‘Virgin Mountain’ and ‘Democrats’ Win Top Prizes

The Guardian: Tribeca’s political documentaries have more than a hint of Michael Moore

Tribeca: DEMOCRATS, One of the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival’s Most Acclaimed Documentaries, Arrives in Theaters How Tribeca Thrives as a Virtual and Actual Reality Showcase

Cinephile City: Democrats

Metro U.S.: ‘Democrats’ is a political doc that will make you despair for humanity

Slant: Democrats

Way Too Indie: Democrats

Sag Harbor Online: Camilla Nielsson Films History As It Happens in Zimbabwe in “Democrats”

4:3: Democrats

Washington Square News: Alumna wins best documentary at Tribeca with ‘Democrats’

Reel News Daily: Tribeca Film Festival reviews: ‘DEMOCRATS’ and ‘VIAJE’. Both are sweet and sour for drastically different reasons

The Film Stage: Democrats


Variety: ‘Virgin Mountain,’ ‘Democrats’ Win 2015 Tribeca Film Festival Awards (FULL LIST)

Film-Forward: Documentaries | Tribeca

Vice: New Documentary ‘Democrats’ Shows Us What Zimbabwean Democracy Looks Like

List for Life: 5 of the bravest documentaries by female directors

Spirituality & Practice: Democrats

j.b. spins: Tribeca ’15: Democrats


Information: Med lov skal Zimbabwe bygges

Politiken: Dansker vinder anset filmpris for dokumentar om Mugabe

Ekko: Dansk dokumentarfilm vinder Nordisk Panorama

Politiken: Guide: Læs Camilla Nielsson og Najaaraq Vestbirks anbefalinger til CPH:DOX

Det Danske Filminstitut: En rejse mod demokrati

Det Danske Filminstitut: Dansk dokumentar rejser godt CPH:DOX: Democrats – Fantastisk dokumentar om Zimbabwes vej mod demokrati

Globalnyt: Demokrater skriver verdenshistorie

Udenrigsministeriet: Dansk dokumentar vinder hovedpris ved afrikansk filmfestival

Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy: ZIMBABWE: Screening of “Democrats” in Harare


NewsDay: Censorship board bans constitution-making documentary

VOA: MISA-Zimbabwe Fumes Over Banning of Constitution-Making Documentary

New Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe and the politics of terror

Daily News: Ban on documentary slammed

NewsDay: MDC-T rallies churches, CSOs against documentary ban

Bulawayo 24: Zimbabwean documentary ‘Democrats’ set for screening in EU Parliament

Bulawayo 24: Govt bans ‘unfit’ constitution making documentary

News24: Diplomats decry banning of Zim constitution doccie

Daily News: Film-makers appeal against ban

NewsDay: Danish Embassy presents film on Zim constitution-making process


Past screenings

The Bioscope 2-8 December 2016
Atlas Studios 30 November 2016
Labia Theatre, Cape Town /SA 2-22 December 2016
Human Rights FF, Ankara / Turkey Nov/Dec 2016
Society for Visual Anthropology Film & Media Festival – Minneapolis / U.S. 02/11/16
Goethe Institute Cameroon 28 October 2016
Guadelope Human Rights Film Festival 09/10/16
Goethe Institute Nairobi 2 August 2016
Cinéma sous les Etoiles / Canada 29/06/16
African Democratic Institute, South Africa May 2016
Cevennes International Documentary Film Festival 29/04/16
Café Mellemrummet / DK 07/04/16
Paris International Human Rights Film Festival / France 05/04/16
Kiev, Docudays UA International Human Rights Film Festival / Ukraine 25/03/16
iREP Documentary Film Festival / Nigeria 17/03/16
Paris, Festival L’Europe autour de l’Europe / France 16/03/16
Centre of Law and Social Tranformation, Bergen / Norway 16/03/16
Cambridge, DocYard / U.S. 07/03/16
ZagrebDox / Croatia 21/02/16
14 Pews, Houston / U.S. 20/02/16
Tromsø International Film Festival / Norway 18/01/16
Hvalsøe Bio 17/01/16
Cinema Eye Honors 10/01/16
Facets Cinématèque, Chicago / U.S. Jan. 2016
Berlin European Film Academy Awards / Germany 12/12/15
FOS Brussels / Belgium 03/12/15
Bratislava, One World International Film Festival / Slovakia 26/11/15
Film Festival Nairobi, Human Rights Watch / Kenya 16/11/15
Montreal, Rencontres Int. Documentaire / Canada 12/11/15
Africa International Film Festival, Lagos /Nigeria 08/11/15
Lübeck, Nordische Filmtage 04/11/15
Guatemala Human Rights Film Festival / Guatemala 02/11/15
Film Africa, London / UK 30/10/15
Lusaka Film Festival / Zambia 30/10/15
One World Film Festival, Ottawa / Canada 24/10/15
Festival des Libertés / Belgium 22/10/15
One World Fim Festival, Vilnius / Lithuania 15/10/15
Riga, Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries 13/10/15
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival 09/10/15
Hamptons Film Festival 08/10/15
Harare, Zimbabwe Int. Film Festival 03/10/15
Guth Gafa International Documentary Festival / Ireland 02/10/15
Human Rights FF – Guyana – European Union Embassy 01/10/15
SAIH, Norway 30/09/15
Reykjavik Film Festival / Iceland 24/09/15
Zürich Film Festival 24/09/15
Budapest Documentary Film Festival 23/09/15
Bergen International Film festival / Norway 23/09/15
Nordisk Panorama, Malmö / Sweden 18/09/15
Camden Int. Film Festival 17/09/15
Edinburgh, Take One Action Film Festival / Great Britain 16/09/15
Guyana, Human Rights Film Festival 01/09/15
Uhuru Productions Cape Town, Tri Continental Film Festival / South Africa 19/08/15
Dokufest Prizren / Serbia 08/08/15
Melbourne Film Festival / Australia 30/07/15
Stronger Than Fiction / Australia 28/07/15
Durban International Film Festival / South Africa 16/07/15
Wellington – New Zealand Film Festival / New Zealand 16/07/15
Supetar Super Film Festival / Croatia 2015
Cine Droit Libre /Burkina Faso 28/06/15
Yangon Human Rights Film Festival / Burma 2015
Addis International Film Festival / Ethiopia 12/06/15
Bologna, Biografilm / Italy 05/06/15
Sheffield Doc/Fest / Great Britain 05/06/15
Cape Town, Encounters South African Int. Documentary FF / South Africa 04/06/15
Sydney Film Festival / Australia 03/06/15
Docsbarcelona / Spain 25/05/15
Warszawa, Planete Doc Review / Poland 09/05/15
München Documentary Festival / Germany 07/05/15
Tel Aviv Docaviv Int. Documentary Film Festival / Israel 06/05/15
Leuven, Docville / Belgium 01/05/15
Toronto, Hot Docs Int. Documentary Festival / Canada 23/04/15
San Francisco Int. Film Festival / USA 23/04/15
New York Tribeca Film Festival / USA 15/04/15
Haag, Amnesty Int. Movies that Matter Festival / The Netherlands 20/03/15
London, Human Rights Watch Film Festival / Great Britain 18/03/15
Columbia, True/False Film Festival / USA 05/03/15
Tempo Dokumentärfestival / Sweden 02/03/15
Prague, One World Human Rights Film Festival / Czech Republic 02/03/15
Oslo, Human Rights – Human Wrongs / Norway 10/02/15
Danmarks Film Akademi 01/02/15
Belgrade, Fest. of European Feature Doc. / Serbia 30/01/15
Göteborg International Film Festival / Sweden 23/01/15
Amsterdam, IDFA / The Netherlands 19/11/14
CPH:DOX / Denmark 06/11/14




Year Festival Award
2016 Society for Visual Anthropology Best Feature Length Film
2016 Tromsö International Film Festival The Norwegian Peace Film Award
2015 Cinema Eye Nominee, Best feature documentary, Best production
2015 Festival des Libertés Le Grand Prix du Festival des Libertés
2015 Festival des Libertés International Federation for Human Rights Award
2015 New York Tribeca Film Festival 2015 Best Documentary Award
2015 Leuven, Docville 2015 The Jury Pricze for Best ConScience Film
2015 Prague, One World Human Rights Film Festival 2015 Best Director
2015 Tel Aviv Docaviv Int. Documentary Film Festival 2015 Freedom Award
2015 Ouagadougo, Festival Ciné Droit Libre 2015 Grand Prix International du Documentaire
2015 Dokufest Prizren 2015 Human Rights Award
2015 Durban International Film Festival 2015 Special Mention
2015 Malmö Nordisk Panorama 2015 Best Documentary Award
2015 Budapest Documentary Film Festival 2015 Audience Award
2015 Bergen International Film festival 2015 Honorable Mention
2015 Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival 2015 Best International Documentary
2015 Harare, Zimbabwe Int. Film Festival 2015 Best Director
2015 Danmarks Film Akademi 2015 Nomination. Best Feature Documentary
2015 Lübeck, Nordische Filmtage 2015 Documentary Film Prize of the Lübeck Unions
2014 CPH:DOX 2014 Special Jury Mention





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