This project is about the stories of five girls who were forced to become sex slaves and rebel soldiers with Uganda's LRA rebel group.
Wives of War is a powerful story about five girls who were formerly kidnapped and forced to become sex slaves and child soldiers during the Lord's Resistance army in the Northern Uganda civil war. It sets out to investigate the reasons why the stories of girls in northern Uganda involved in armed conflict, willingly or otherwise, have not been documented extensively. The short version of this project was accepted and screened at the Awareness Film Festival in Los Angeles, California where it received an honorable mention.
What we want to do:
This project wants to increase awareness of former girl soldiers in Northern Uganda. To do this, we need to make a longer feature film. A film that will be screened in several audiences including non profit organizations that focus on helping women/girls who have been affected by war. We want to enter this film in longer feature film festivals around the world and share it with a broader audience.
How we plan to do it:
We intend to travel to Gulu, Northern Uganda at the end of 2011 to film. We have set up local connections in Uganda that can help us acquire professional equipment for hire. The support from this backing will help us achieve this goal. Most of the post production will be done in the US, but we will need to cover travel costs for the crew of three, who will be working on this project.
What the money is for:
To make this project a reality we will need:
Air flight to Uganda
Equipment hire including HD camera, microphones and lights.
Film Festival fees
Food for the crew
We are focusing on girls because of the severe data that shows that cases of former girl soldiers are acutely understated. In Uganda's case it is worse. In Gulu, Uganda, when children who were kidnapped and forced to become rebel soldiers return to their homes, the girls bear the brunt of their community's despise. Their chances of going back to school are cut in half because they returned with babies and in most cases, HIV or AIDS. This creates an intense stigma from the communities in which they live -- the more reason why we focus on girls.
In December 2009 we went to Gulu, Uganda and talked to five girls between the ages of 14-30 about their experiences as child soldiers and wives to rebel soldiers. We then made a 20 minutes video about their story and entered it in three humanitarian film festivals. It was screened in the Awareness Film Festival in Los Angeles, California where it received an honorable mention. This was our first major step in creating awareness.
We also created a Facebook event for the video's first screening at the Awareness Festival in Los Angeles.
Most of the feed back we received regarding both length and content (of the current 20 minutes video), revealed that for an issue as significant as this, a much more in-depth feature that focuses on cultivating the characters of the women/girls who were affected by their stay with rebel soldiers, would impart a better understanding of what it means to live a day in their lives. Also most of the relevant film festival requirements needed a feature from 30 minutes to an hour as the ideal length of a longer documentary. So we want to increase the chances of this documentary being entered in film festivals.
Aside from creating more awareness, we hope that after this project has been completed, it will be screened in several audiences including non profit organizations that focus on rebuilding female war affected people. This project is also a direct platform for the girls' voices to be heard. Shrouded in the norms and cultures of their society, the girls who have led difficult lives due to their experiences with rebels soldiers, have had to conform to what their communities expect them to be (which is humbled and subdued). This project will be part of the healing process for these girls, at the same time give them an opportunity to show how skillful they are so that society can appreciate them anew.