We are currently in development on a documentary that will utilize some unique and very rare film and written material from Africa just before the onset of World War Two. Shot by the family of Coldstream Creative owner Hunter Sykes, the films contain more than 4 hours of historical footage -reportedly the first color film shot in Africa- taken during an eight week safari on and around the Serengeti Plains region of Tanzania. These unique and amazing films are accompanied by a detailed daily diary that was kept by several members of the family throughout the trip.
Starting with the expedition's departure from New York City aboard the French liner Normandie, the footage provides an amazing glimpse of transportation in the 30’s, the human cultures, geographies, and wildlife of East Africa, African colonialism, geopolitics between the World Wars, the culture and comforts of camping and hunting on safari, and the ethics and science of sport hunting, and that's just scratching the surface of what these films can teach us. It’s all fascinating footage that gives a great snapshot of the cultural, socioeconomic, and physical aspects of the pre-WW2 world of the wealthy and the people that they encounter. In addition to the video record of the trip, we also have the complete day-by-day diary account of the trip written by Hunter's grandfather, grand-uncle, and great-grandmother; this adds an additional level of primary source material and detail that gives this project even greater potential.
The footage and diaries illustrate a world that no longer exists, as well as issues that are still with us –albeit in different guises or with modern twists; cultural racism, bigotry, lack of empathy for people and wildlife, lack of knowledge and/or acknowledgement of environmental impacts, differing concepts of luxury and class, a myriad of socio–economic issues, and others. There’s also compassion, friendship, laughter, humor, and thoughtfulness evident in these sources. There are boundless opportunities to compare, contrast, stimulate discussion, and educate viewers with this film, and I think with the right creative team, it can really shine as well as be a financial success.
To inquire about opportunities to support or partner with us on this project, visit the project website here.