Sorious Samura has seen humanity at its worst. The award-winning investigative journalist from Sierra Leone has covered the brutalities of war, the devastation of disease, and the cruelty of corruption in his home country. He also knows the people of Sierra Leone are resilient and so much more than the tragedies they have endured.

In “Sing, Freetown” directed by Clive Patterson, Samura teams up with his friend Charlie Haffner, a renowned playwright, to create a play that reclaims the country’s image from negative stories in the media to one that is culturally rich its citizens can be proud of.

The film is an intimate journey for Samura. Viewers get a sense of the inner conflict he has gone through coming to terms with different aspects of his identity as it relates to Sierra Leone. Samura grew up in Freetown but has lived in London for many years. During the film, viewers travel between the two worlds with Samura and confront the challenges he faces creating the play with Haffner, and the struggles he has with Sierra Leone itself.

Samura and Haffner have different work styles and ways of approaching obstacles and deadlines. Tensions rise and the play’s production is at risk of crumbling. Imagine trying to put on a national play with one of your friends. Would it be a great success or a great disaster? Watching how Samura and Haffner navigate these difficulties in their friendship feels very genuine and you can see how both men grow and learn from the experience.

You can’t watch “Sing, Freetown” and not notice how gorgeous the cinematography is. Vast aerial shots of the horizon offer a stunning reprieve from complex feelings on the ground. These moments celebrate the beauty of the region and capture a feeling of lightness that also holds a tremendous sense of greatness. Is it awe? Wonderment? Promise? Perhaps, all of the above. Patterson makes sure that with these shots we know what’s truly at the heart of “Sing, Freetown,” and it’s something far greater than the two men who front the film.

Behind the scenes of “Sing, Freetown” there are many talented people.

You might recognize the film’s executive producers.

Nick Fraser created the much loved documentary strand “Storyville” on the BBC. Ron McCullagh, a former BBC reporter, has won numerous Emmy awards and a BAFTA for his work (“Cry Freetown”). Katy Barksdale has done amazing work on social justice issues and co-produced the award-winning “John Lewis: Good Trouble” documentary.

Finally, there’s Jon Ossoff.

“Sing, Freetown” is one of Ossoff’s last film projects before he was elected to the U.S. Senate.

In a world of bad news, “Sing, Freetown” is a breath of fresh air that exhilarates with its wholehearted goodness. Beyond bad headlines, people are still doing amazing things. Big things, little things, and in-between things that reverberate with positivity and hope.

No matter where one is in the world, stories matter. Whether they are stories reported on TV, film, in writing, or told through live performance on a theatre stage, they have the potential to empower, shape, and change the direction of people’s lives. Sublime in every way, “Sing, Freetown” soars with optimism and is the hopeful watch you need to reshape your worldview and recognize that beyond grim news there still exists goodness all around.

See “Sing, Freetown” screening online at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival from July 1st – 31st. For more information on MDFF, visit: