A Story of Bones

Joseph Curran, Dominic Aubrey de Vere

Working for the constructor of an airport on Saint Helena, Namibian Annina Van Neel hears about the discovery of mass graves of formerly enslaved people on the island. When she starts fighting for an honourable resting place, she has to take on resistance, indifference and the persistent legacy of colonialism.  
The small island Saint Helena is renowned as the place Napoleon Bonaparte spent his final years. Napoleon’s (empty) tomb is the centre of reverence and memorial ceremonies. But the stories of an estimated 9.000 formerly enslaved people who were buried in mass graves on the island in the 19th century – one third of whom were children – have never been told.  
When Annina Van Neel was working for a company building an airport on the island, her job was to make sure the discovery of the graves didn’t cause any delays. However, her conscience caught up with her. The bones, along with ornaments, clothing and hair, had been placed in boxes as a ‘temporary measure’. But as time goes by, nobody in power wants to take responsibility. Haunted by this historical injustice, Van Neel goes on a mission to fight for a proper memorial for these forgotten victims.

A Story of Bones has been part of the Activist competition 2023, with Annina Van Neel as a special guest of the festival. 


Joseph Curran, Dominic Aubrey de Vere
Yvonne Isimeme Ibazebo
Country of production
United Kingdom
95 minutes
Spoken language
Production company
Archers Mark
World Sales