Dee Sitonu a Weti | Stones Have Laws


The rainforest of Suriname is mainly inhabited by the Maroons. They are the descendants of Africans who were shipped across the Atlantic to work as slaves on plantations. Some of these enslaved Africans managed to free themselves.

They founded new communities in the Amazonian rainforest – an environment unknown to them. Here they met indigenous people who helped them survive. Building on their ancestral knowledge and on what the indigenous taught them, the Maroons developed a way of life in dialogue with the rivers, the stones and the forest.

In Stones Have Laws, we teamed up with the Surinamese theater maker Tolin Alexander to collaborate on a film project that presents the colonial history that the Netherlands and Suriname share from the point of view of the Maroons, and gives insight in their way of life, not ruled by the laws of the market but by the laws of the earth. This resulted in a four-year collaboration with the Maroon community involving storytelling, collective script-making, and performance.

In the film, the Maroons demonstrate rituals to contact ancestors and local forest spirits, and recite how foreign conquerors forced them to relocate over and again. In colonial times they battled fiercely against the Dutch colonial rule. Nowadays they confront multinationals that exploit their ancestral grounds for mining and logging. The film was presented with a mobile cinema to the community and received theatrical release in the UK, Ireland, and the Netherlands. More information...


100 min, 4K DCP, 2018

Reviews                    he Guardian | The Observer


Distribution                                                       ICA


film stills Stones Have Laws


presentation of the film

to the maroon communities in the interior of Suriname, March 2019