A Story Of Bones

As the Environmental Officer for Saint Helena’s troubled £285m ($360m) airport project, Annina Van Neel learned of the island’s most terrible atrocity – an unmarked mass burial ground of an estimated 9,000 formerly enslaved Africans. It is one of the most significant traces of the transatlantic slave trade still on earth.

Saint Helena island – a tiny British Overseas Territory in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean – is so remote that the only means of arrival is the world’s last Royal Mail Ship, a six-day journey from Cape Town.

For centuries Saint Helena has existed in near isolation from the rest of the world, a potent symbol of Britain’s colonial past, epitomized by its most famous tourist attraction – Napoleon Bonaparte’s empty tomb.

As the Environmental Officer for Saint Helena’s troubled £285m airport project, Annina Van Neel learned of the island’s most terrible atrocity – an unmarked mass burial ground of an estimated 9,000 formerly enslaved Africans. It is one of the most significant traces of the transatlantic slave trade still on earth.

Haunted by this historical injustice, Annina fights alongside renowned African American preservationist Peggy King Jorde and a group of disenfranchised islanders – many of them descendants of enslaved people – for the proper memorialisation of these forgotten victims.

The resistance they face exposes disturbing truths about the UK’s colonial past – and present.

In charting her years-long journey to this moment of catharsis, A STORY OF BONES documents Annina’s extraordinary transformation from a disempowered bystander to an undaunted social justice activist—and one who is determined to advocate for a community that has long been denied a voice.

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Released in the UK from Friday 2nd August

  • Director: Joseph Curran and Dominic Aubrey de Vere
  • Year: 2022
  • Country: UK/USA
  • Duration: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Production company: Archer’s Mark
  • Cert: TBC

IMDB

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