According to the Guardian, My Brother’s Keeper tells the inspiring true story of how former Guantánamo detainee, Mohamedou Ould Salahi, formed an unlikely friendship with his American guard, Steve Wood.
The documentary, from filmmaker and Guardian special projects editor Laurence Topham, explores how this remarkable friendship was discovered in the darkest of moments to tell a moving story of how hope overcame fear.
The film’s central contributor, Mohamedou Ould Salahi, was held at Guantánamo Bay for 14 years until his release in 2016. The US government originally believed he was involved in the planning of the 9/11 terror attacks, but later dropped this allegation and Mohamedou was never charged with a crime. Steve Wood, then a member of the US National Guard, was deployed to Guantánamo Bay in 2004. He guarded Mohamedou for 10 months and the pair formed an unlikely bond.
My Brother’s Keeper (21 mins) follows the men two years on from Mohamedou’s release as they are reunited in Nouakchott — Mohamedou’s home city in Mauritania, Africa — where they rekindle a friendship that profoundly changed both of their lives forever.
The film will world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York this April, as part of the No Surrender Shorts Programme.
Laurence Topham, director, producer and editor of My Brother’s Keeper, says: “As a filmmaker and Guardian journalist, I've always been drawn to stories of human resilience, but it was Mohamedou who showed me how hope and friendship can emerge in the unlikeliest of places. I am hugely excited to see My Brother’s Keeper premiere at Tribeca and to share Mohamedou and Steve’s extraordinary journey with audiences. I believe it’s more urgent than ever to highlight hopeful narratives that dismantle negative stereotypes and remind us that what connects us is far more powerful than what divides us.”
Lindsay Poulton, head of documentaries, Guardian News & Media, says: “At the Guardian, we strive to be at the forefront of creating powerful short documentaries that resonate with audiences around the world. Five years in the making, My Brother’s Keeper tells a powerful story of hope in increasingly dark times. The film is a compassionate and human story reflective of the Guardian’s documentary strand, which brings new perspectives and new ways of thinking to compelling and vital journalism”.
Guardian documentaries have won critical acclaim, including an Oscar nomination last year for Black Sheep, as well as winning awards at the Cannes film festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest and the Aesthetica Short Film Festival.
My Brother’s Keeper is produced, directed and edited by Laurence Topham, and executive produced by Lindsay Poulton and Mustafa Khalili. The commissioning editors are Charlie Phillips and Christian Bennett.
My Brother’s Keeper is set to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2020 and will be available on the Guardian later this year.