Since he was a boy growing up as a Maasai herder, Toreto ole Koisenge dreamed of cattle. When filmmaker Peter Biella first visited his homestead in 1980, he had over six hundred head. Today his herd numbers only twenty. The world of the Maasai pastoralists has grown smaller since the Tanzanian government put a stop to their seasonal cattle migrations and forced them to live in permanent settlements. For elder Toreto ole Koisenge, the dream is no longer about cattle. In this new world of tunultious change, how can he create a life that offers his children wisdom, humanity and hope? Changa Revisited follows the lives of Toreto’s extended family from two points in time across a thirty-year divide. The film draws from a collection of over 6,000 black and white photographs and hundreds of audio recordings of Maasai life taken in 1980. These images woven with contemporary video footage create a deeply personal portrait of a family’s journey through three decades of volatile change.
Peter Biella directs the Program in Visual Anthropology at San Francisco State University. He has made films in the US, Egypt, Costa Rica, Peru, Romania and Haiti. Recently he collaborated with Maasai, to produce ‘trigger films’ that encourage learning about HIV.
Leonard Kamerling is Curator of Film at the University of Alaska Museum. He has produced numerous award winning films about Alaska Native cultures and indigenous issues including, Uksuum Cauyai: The Drums of Winter, which was named to the National Film Registry of the US Library of Congress.