LOST AND FOUND
After her mothers’ murder, Neema, a 26 year old, travels across the country to find her elder sister, who ran away from home years earlier due to domestic violence.
NEEMA, a successful accountant, monthly visits a witch doctor in a deep forest near the city where she lives in one of her desperate attempts to find her sister. Neema is kneeling down near the largest tree in the forest while the witch doctor behind her guides her to the world of the spirits. But her mind travels to her dark past times. Flashbacks of violent nights when her parents had verbal and physical fights bounce in her head.
Neema can not stand the feelings and walks away furiously and disappointed. But she gets lost when trying to find the way out of the forest. So she climbs a tree to find a mobile phone signal to call her boyfriend, PASCAL. He has been against the whole mission of Neema finding her sister. Pascal believes that an elder sister should be responsible to care for the young one and not otherwise. Neema is irritated with his long speech in the car and she decides to get off and walk home.
The same night, after a shower and when she is about to go to bed, Neema gets a phone call from her private detective who claims to have bad news about the whereabouts of TABU, Neema’s sister.
The detective tells Neema that Tabu was shot dead by her husband many years ago. He says there is not much information about the incident as it happened long ago, when there was no internet and social media. Neema asks for the name of the place where her sister was killed and the name of her husband. With tears in her face, she shakes hands with the detective and walks away.
The next day, armed with nothing but a backpack, her phone and earphones, Neema gets on an old small mini bus heading to SOKOLOKO, a village where her sister, Tabu, was living with her husband. After a few hours of traveling, the bus breaks down and after fixing it the journey continues. But it catches on fire and smoke not long after. Neema and all the passengers run for their lives. While waiting for it to be fixed, Neema takes a walk to admire the beautiful countryside, nature and waterfalls of the place. She hears the car horn and all of a sudden the bus leaves her.
As she chases the bus without success, SABRI emerges from the bushes behind her. He is also left behind as he was making short calls. Sabri is a doubtful teacher reporting for work in the village. As he introduces himself to Neema he says he struggled to secure a job in the city because of his dreadlocks. So he believes he will be well received in the village where there is a shortage of teachers. Sabri makes a phone call to his host known as MWALIMU to come and pick him up.
In the village Neema struggles to find a place to sleep for the night. As she comes across TUMAINI LODGE, a local lodge which is the only one in the village. But it turns out to be mainly for prostitutes. She asks for a room and she is given a room which has a man inside (FRANK). Frank warmly welcomes her in, but she manages to walk away in peace. As she seeks refuge, FARIDA, a random woman with a small bar, agrees to accommodate Neema in her bar. The next day she continues with the mission with the help of Farida. But the mission is cut short by Frank, who is also Farida’s boyfriend. He remembers Neema from their first encounter at Tumaini Lodge.
Following instructions from Farida, Neema finds an old woman who helps her to find what she thinks is TABU’s grave. Neema pays her respect and decides to build a proper grave for her sister. When she is at the hardware store on the phone with her angry boss, two kids on a motorbike, FUKO and GIFT, grab her phone and run away. Fuko and Gift walk into a bar owned by BRIGITA (TABU). We see Frank sitting next to her eating. Frank finishes eating and is about to leave when Tabu insists to him not to switch off his phone and to stay away from women. Tabu opens her wallet and she stares with love at a one sided photo folded into it. It's a similar photo to the one Neema has on her stolen phone.
Farida sees Frank arriving but he remains in the car for a moment. She runs off and takes his phone, finding out that he has been deleting messages from his wife Tabu. Frank is not happy about it and they start a fight. Neema comes in and tries to break the fight but she ends up helping Farida to beat up Frank. Farida packs her belongings and leaves Frank at his bar. Neema asks her to call the boys who stole her phone with the intention to trade the picture of her phone for money. But the thieves reject it. Farida decides that she will go back to the city and Neema decides to go to Mwalimu's house. She meets Mwalimu and Sabri again and she is well accommodated. Neema and Sabri sit outside and watch the stars together while contemplating about life.
The next day Neema gets a chance to call the thieves again and this time they agree to meet in an anonymous place. But when they meet so she can unlock the phone and send herself the picture, the phone has a dead battery. They run away on a motorcycle and Neema chases them down to their hiding place, Tabu’s bar. They ask Tabu to charge the phone. Neema comes in and starts a fight with them all. Shortly after, Frank comes in and joins the fight to beat Neema. They throw Neema outside a few times before she gives up the fight for her phone and decides to walk away.
Franks asks the boys where the phone is and Tabu unplugs it from the charger to show him. But at that instant she sees the phone screen saver photo. She is in shock and quickly opens her wallet to compare both images. IT’S THE SAME PHOTO. Tabu runs for Neema and the rest follow her. Tabu finds Neema and they both hug in tears. The next day Tabu and Neema are washing clothes in the river. Tabu takes off her dress and Neema sees scars on her back. Neema asks what happened, but Tabu refuses to share the story. As they talk, Neema asks if Tabu will be willing to go back to the city with her, but she refuses. She claims not to be educated enough to find a job in the city. That evening they are back home when Neema sits down with Tabu and tells her what she knows about Frank and his affairs with other women. Surprisingly, Tabu says she is aware of everything and that she doesn't care. As they talk, Frank's car can be heard outside approaching and Tabu asks Neema to leave because there is no space for three people in the house. Neema packs and leaves. Frank comes in and Tabu starts interrogating him. Tabu grabs Frank's phone and runs into the room. Frank is not happy about it and takes a glass bottle and follows her. He beats her several times in the face with the bottle until Tabu falls down unconscious. We are in montage of Neema knocking on Mwalimu's house and Sabri opening the door. Neema getting on a bus and saying goodbye to Sabri and leaving the village. The bus speeding, she stops the bus and decides to go back. She is entering her sister's house and we hear a loud scream. Opening shot of a car speeding, with Tabu inside unconscious. Nurse and doctors running Tabu to emergency.
Neema leaves the hospital with blood stains everywhere. She looks confused and depressed. She doesn’t have her belongings. She meets MAMA TENGENEZA who takes her home to shower and clean up. Mama Tengeneza washes Neema’s shirt and gives her a coach to sleep. Neema can't sleep in peace and early in the morning she wakes up and runs to find Frank. She goes to Tumaini Lodge and opens every room until she finds him in bed with Farida. They fight in the corridors. Frank stabs Neema with a knife at the back. Also Neema manages to stab Frank a few times and he dies. Neema walks off bleeding. She walks in the village while in pain, holding her stomach and falling down at the bridge. We see blood coming out of her mouth. She faces up and the camera on bird eye view pulls back up slowly until the big river and the bridge can be seen as small as a stream. Neema in white shirt looks as small as a pillow and the screen fades to black. That is the end.
LOST AND FOUND
Henry Alfred MwakajumbaDirector
Henry Alfred MwakajumbaWriter
Pilar Millan GutierrezProducer
Monica James SizyaKey Cast"Neema"The Gift (Netflix)
Runtime:1 hour 51 minutes 27 seconds
Completion Date:March 11, 2023
Country of Origin:Tanzania, United Republic of
Country of Filming:Tanzania, United Republic of
SHORT BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
I am a 34 years old Tanzanian film maker, married and blessed with 2 kids boy and a girl.
I graduated from Tumaini University of Iringa (Tanzania) in 2013, with a bachelor degree in Social Science and Community Development. Since 2013 I have been involved in the film industry, being part in all the amazing projects that have been happening in Tanzania, and also producing, writing, directing and shooting my own projects.
In 2020 I wrote, shot, produced and directed a 17 episodes TV series called Baba Olivia. Each episode with a running time of 30 minutes, and now streaming on Pendwa, an American based streaming platform available world wide. The TV series was also nominated as best TV series, best upcoming actress and best production design at the Tanzania Government established Film Awards 2021.
Also, as a fixer, I facilitated the production of the Foundation of Fitness for IFT, an American fitness product company. I was in charge of all shooting permits for six American crew members and three Tanzanians. The production took place in Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro CA, Arusha National Park, Lake Natron and Moshi Kilimanjaro urban.
In 2019, I was part of a crew member as DIT in the production of Kijiweni Production and Bigword cinema feature film Tug of war, the first Tanzanian film to be nominated at Toronto Film Festival in 2021.
In 2019, after submitting a few short movies to the East Africa Community film contest, I won a $500 prize as best short film from Tanzania. The competition involved all six East African countries and more than 300 films were submitted.
In 2018, I directed a 6 episodes web series for East African Community and gizd.
In 2016, I worked as second AC in IMFDI Tanzania feature film, Tunu (The Gift) now streaming on Netflix.
In 2015, I made my first feature film, Mwalimu Masemele, which I wrote and directed. Later it was nominated as best comedy feature film.
In 2014, I worked for a Dutch owned company (Made in Africa Tv) as a director of a daily TV show called Minibuzz, where passengers of a minibuss were the audience of the show. The show was discussing everyday social political issues.
In 2013, I started as an intern in an American based company called MFDI, for the production of season two of an award winning TV series called Siri ya Mtungi. First in a grip and lighting department. Later in the camera department as second AC, and DIT.
In between I have been involved in numerous commercials, feature films and short films.
As an African film director, I am constantly inspired by the stories of my people and the issues that affect them. One such issue is gender violence, which unfortunately remains a pervasive problem in many African societies. It is a tragedy that we continue to lose talented women to senseless acts of violence, and as a filmmaker, I believe it is my duty to use my art to bring attention to this issue and spark conversations that lead to change.
My film, Lost and Found, was inspired by the death of Nigerian Gospel singer Osinachi Nwachukwu, who was tragically killed by her husband. Her story, like that of many women who have suffered at the hands of their partners, touched me deeply, and I knew that I had to use my platform to bring her story to the screen.
The film is a poignant reminder that violence against women is not a private matter, but a public one that affects us all.
As a filmmaker, my goal is to not just entertain, but to also educate and inspire my audience. I hope that Lost and Found will be a catalyst for change, inspiring people to speak out against gender violence and demand accountability from those in power. Through this film, I hope to start a conversation that will lead to real change in our societies.
In conclusion, Lost and Found is a film that is close to my heart, and I am proud of the work that my team and I have put into bringing this story to life. It is my hope that this film will make a difference and serve as a powerful reminder that we must all work together to end gender violence in our communities.