Colours of the Alphabet (2016)

Director and Camera:  Alastair Cole

Producer:  Nick Higgins 

Editors: Colin Monie and Nick Gibbon 

Music: Vitoria Wijeratne

Length: 80 and 59 minutes

Countries of production: UK / NZ

Production Companies: Lansdowne Productions, Scotland and Tongue Tied Films NZ.

Film Website: Twitter: @AlphabetFilm. Facebook: ColoursOfTheAlphabetFilm

Langauges: Soli, Nyanja, Bemba, English

Subtitles available in: 

80min version: English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Polish, Turkish, Sardinian

59min version: English, French, Portuguese, Akan, Amharic, Bemba, English, Ewe, Fula, French, Hausa, Igbo, Kikuyyu, Kinyarwanda, Lingala, Lozi, Luganda, Luo, Magalasy, Moore, Nyanja, Oshiwambo, Portuguese, Tswana, Shona, Soli, Swahili, Tigrinya, Tsonga, Tswana, Wolof, Xhosa, Yoruba, Zulu.


Colours of the Alphabet tells the story of three Zambian children and their families over two school terms, and asks the question: does the future have to be in English?

A lyrical, beautifully-filmed documentary which spends 9 months in a Zambian village grade one class – from the rains of January till the cold of August –  as the children, and their parents, come to terms with the often bemusing reality of education in their country. A country where there are 72 ethnic languages spoken, however, you are told that to get ahead means understanding the world in the country’s only official language – English. Despite less than 2% of Zambians using the language in their daily lives.

An inspiring, bittersweet documentary about childhood innocence, language and national identity, with multi-coloured subtitles reflecting the different languages being spoken

‘poignant, touching and very amusing’  **** Across the Arts –   – read full review here

lyrical, beautifully­ filmed…an inspiring, bittersweet documentary about language, communication and national identity” Glasgow Film Festival

For a full list of upcoming and previous screenings please see the film’s website here 

For options to view online see here and to purchase the DVD / BluRay see here

Please contact us for more information or screening requests.

Developed with the support of Creative Scotland Film and TV Fund, Scottish Documentary Institute’s INTERDOC Documentary Feature Development program, and EDN / DocPoint’s Twelve for the Future rough cut development scheme.