The Years We Have Been Nowhere

Sulemain, Madame Kamakuye and Patrick have left Sierra Leone in search of a better future.
Once in Europe and the US, they built their lives around the people they met on the street: they got married and had children. After respecting the laws and paying taxes, due to bureaucratic problems and small infringements of the administrative judicial system they are condemned: the police snatch them from the arms of their loved ones and take them back home, the place they had left a few years earlier and where they had lost contact with friends and family.
Parents, brothers, sisters and all relatives, who had invested their possessions, to allow at least one of them to build a better future elsewhere, cannot accept their return empty-handed.
Sulemain, Madame Manseray and Patrick become pariahs, outcasts; abandoned and driven out twice by the West and by their compatriots, in Sierra Leone.
“The Years We Have Been Nowhere” is a story of despair and suffering; what these people are subjected to.
In Freetown, they return with chains on their arms, as if slavery and repatriation were two sides of the same brutality.

  • Lucio Cascavilla
  • Mauro Piacentini
  • Olivia Gooding
    Key Cast
    "Olivia "
  • Sulemain Sesay
    Key Cast
    "Sulemain "
  • Patrick Morsoneh
    Key Cast
    "Patrick "
  • Abdulay Daramy
    Key Cast
    "Abdulay "
  • Tejan Lamboi
    Key Cast
    "Tejan "
  • Lucio Cascavilla
  • Mauro Piacentini
  • Lucio Cascavilla
  • Mauro Piacentini
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Migration Documentary, Drama
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 20 minutes 14 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 1, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    23,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    Germany, Italy, Sierra Leone, United Kingdom, United States
  • Language:
    Afrikaans, English, German
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Lucio Cascavilla, Mauro Piacentini

Lucio Cascavilla was born in Manfredonia (FG) in 1979. After a degree in Oriental Languages and Civilizations at the University of Naples, he moved to China where he lived for 10 years.
In 2008 he collaborated on the short film “Goodbye, Beijing goodbye” with Mauro Piacentini and as a blogger on the PeaceReporter site to tell the story of the Beijing Olympics.
In the same years, he founded a rock group that performed on several tours, an experience that inspired his first book: Punk road in China (2012-Robin editions). Between one tour and the next he produced 3 EPs, an LP, and 3 video clips created, interpreted and co-shot by the members of the group, together with the group. During one of the tours the documentary “the punk band of Italian stallions” was also made, conceived, written and produced by Lucio, in collaboration with Niccolò Ottimofiore and Edmondo Di Natale, easily available on youtube. Also in 2012, he published a story (Chronicles of a traveller in the country of real socialism) in the Asiaitaliana anthology (Cim @ Editore). In 2016 he published his second novel: The utopia of respect with Lettere Animate. In 2017 he published a short story (The solitude of the cook) in the anthology Tales at the table (Historica editions). In 2019 the collection of short stories: Dreams, signs and symptoms (Morlacchi, Perugia). In 2020 and 2021 he published, free of charge, a novel (“Barefoot among the mangroves”) on his blog: Also in 2021, he contributed a story about Sierra Leone, to the anthology "Writers on the run". In May 2022 his first Graphic Novel “3 stories not to die” was released by Morsi publisher.
In the meantime he continues to collaborate in the making of cartoons, writing songs for rock bands, and articles for magazines (Left) and literary blogs (Neutopia, Spazi Inclusi, Cafè Boheme). He currently lives in Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, ready to emigrate to another when.

Born in 1978, Neapolitan, Mauro Piacentini is passionate, from childhood to the arts and in particular audiovisual communications. Over the years he develops a growing interest in cinema and oriental cultures and in 2004 he graduated with honours in Oriental Languages and Civilizations at the University of Naples, "L’ Orientale "with an experimental thesis on Ang Lee's cinema. In 2008, he completed his film-directing studies, graduating from the Beijing Film Academy, after earning a scholarship from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The same year he directed “Goodbye, Beijing, Goodbye”, a medium-length film written in Chinese and shot in the streets of Beijing during the Olympic Games. He has written and directed several works, including “Deep white”, a short film presented in 2006 at the Venice Film Festival, in the Industry sector. In 2016 he founded Mauzedao, a label dedicated to video and photographic production. In 2018 he wrote and directed, together with Andrea Borgia, "Posto Unico". The documentary has been recognized as a product of cultural interest and has received several official awards, including the Critics' Award at the Cerveteri Film Festival and the Best Short Competition in La Jolla, California.

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Director Statement

The Years We Have Been Nowhere arises from two needs, one narrative and the other metaphorical.
The first is to give a voice to the Invisibles who are deported and who in the process are transformed from men into numbers and statistics; the second is to represent the idea of exclusion from society in a tangible and physical form.
We were lucky: we were able to shoot most of the film in Freetown: the city where England, after banning the trade, brought back freed slaves (originating from all over Africa).
The country’s first ruling group was a group of Pariahs who did not even remember what Africa was like; the men and women sold by the same families, to repay debts, were transformed into a new social aggregation, because at the end of the 19th century, in that part of the world, the idea of individuality did not exist.
When we arrived in Sierra Leone, the greatest difficulty was to tell an African story, without being African. Understanding the world around us and in which we would have lived only the time necessary to shoot the film; the relationship with local people and deportees. Talk to them, and try to get them to tell their story. What they wanted to communicate started from their inner world, even if they were in front of the camera that connected with ours that was on the other side.
Being able to convey on film what our impressions were, but also everything we saw, we encountered: colours, smells, shapes.
The Years We Have Been Nowhere is the synthesis between our life as migrants (China, England, Africa and why not, even moving from one place in Italy to another) privileged who have a European passport and which everything is allowed, and what others are forced to undergo to get to the same position as we are.
The experience lived, both during the writing phase and that of collecting the testimonies, pushed us to put ourselves at the service of history, inducing us to work by subtraction, although this is, by force of circumstances, a story full of words.
Nonetheless, we worked with extreme care, giving up everything we thought was in excess, without fictionalizing, instead trying to indulge the people who from time to time sat in front of the room to tell us their story.