Filmmaker

“One Day in Africa” is the second documentary feature by Brook Silva-Braga. In February 2008 he crossed from Spain to Morocco for an open-ended trip through Africa. His first film, “A Map for Saturday,” chronicled a yearlong adventure touching every major continent except Africa.

With a loose itinerary and no specific narrative goals, Silva-Braga began shooting one-day profiles of people he met along the way. The first was Osama, a shopkeeper in Fez, Morocco.

After driving through the Sahara, Silva-Braga spent two months in French-speaking West Africa. In Burkina Faso he was introduced to a theater student; in Mali he found a rural farmer; in dusty Niger he met Howa, a newlywed still adjusting to the harshest elements of her new surroundings.

But overall Silva-Braga was surprised by the level of stability and security on the continent.

“I was struck by the difference between the way most people led their lives and what I expected based on what I had seen in movies or read in magazines,” he says. “Almost everyone seems to go to Africa to tell a story about war or AIDS or orphans or misery. And while those things all exist they aren’t the day-to-day reality of most people.”

That proved true even in hotspots like Kisumu, Kenya where fighting had ravaged the city after a disputed presidential election. Silva-Braga found his subject there by accident; while looking for a rental car he met Titus, who had survived the worst of the violence and was just a day from re-opening his travel agency and boutique.

On other occasions Silva-Braga sought people with specific perspectives or circumstance. For a month in Malawi he attempted to profile a pregnant woman. Government bureaucracy sent him up and down the tall, narrow country before a young hospital chief consented to the filming.

Silva-Braga returned to the United States in July 2008 to edit the film, collaborating with two key members of the “A Map for Saturday” team: musician Jimmy Khoury and animator Matt LaVoy.