For centuries, it has been common wisdom that rape is an inevitable part of war, sexual violence is collateral damage in conflict, and there is nothing that can be done to punish it. This is the story of people who don’t believe that is true and who work everyday to prove it.
THE PROSECUTORS is the compelling story of Amani and Jasmin, two dedicated lawyers who fight to make sure that survivors of sexual violence in conflict get justice. The film was conceived out of a belief that the law is for everyone, especially those who have lived through unimaginable crimes during war - whether it be yesterday or twenty years ago.
Our story begins in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Amani and her colleagues are working daily to ensure that rape, sexual slavery, and other types of abuse are not simply considered "collateral damage" in a war that has taken the lives of over 5,000,000 people. The film goes on to Bosnia, where Jasmin and other prosecutors are collaborating with a network of civil society partners to make sure that the tens of thousands of victims who experienced rape and other violations during the country's brutal war twenty years ago have a chance to see justice - no matter how long it takes.
The team behind THE PROSECUTORS brings years of feature film, international photojournalism, and graphic design experience. The documentary will have a compelling visual style that will mix motion and still images and feature high-quality imagery of a challenging subject matter, bringing this conversation to a wide audience and making an international impact in honor of survivors and those who are working for them.
Humans have a complicated relationship with sexuality and difficulty in deciding what is a criminal sexual act. Even when a legal consensus is reached, there is even greater difficulty with the implementation of the legal framework for sexual violence. For centuries, these problems have been compounded during conflict. Rape, sexual slavery, and other abuses are seen as collateral damage to the main event of “war” and when it is time to make peace, there is often both the assumption of and granting of impunity.
However, this is not always the case. There is legal precedent to decouple sexual violence from war and there is a codified international legal framework that can be used to end impunity for perpetrators. But it isn’t easy and it won't happen without all of us. That’s why we are making THE PROSECUTORS, to support those bravely working for justice.
HOW WILL WE USE THE PROCEEDS?
THE PROSECUTORS began filming in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Bosnia and Herzegovina this spring. Now we have a chance to take that footage and create a fifteen minute film that will be screened in June at the Global Summit on Sexual Violence in Conflict in London hosted by Minister William Hague, UK Foreign Minister, and Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner on Refugees. This gathering includes foreign ministers and secretaries of state from the hundreds of countries that have endorsed the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. The film will be presented in the public festival and seen by representatives from political, civil society, and media networks – ensuring that before the full-length film is even completed it will start to make an impact!
To create the fifteen minute film, we need to edit the footage, add music and graphics, secure archival images, and take it all to the audience that can make the most impact in supporting the fight for justice.
PLEASE NOTE: ART WORKS Projects is a 501c3 non-profit organization - so your pledge is tax deductible above the fair market value of any rewards!
After the Summit, we’ll move forward in two stages:
- Editing the documentary to add a prosecutor from Central America with our third character working to end sexual violence in conflict.
- Starting principal photography for the full-length documentary featuring all three of our characters.
We're excited about both steps and hope you will join us!
WHERE WE ARE NOW
COMPLETED: Establishing the issues and our characters through our first filming in the Democratic Republic of Congo & Bosnia and Herzegovina.
GOAL: Completing post-production for a fifteen minute cut that will be presented at the Global Summit on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict this June.
STRETCH GOAL: Establishing our third case study by filming in Central America and adding that footage to the short version.
SUPER-STRETCH GOAL: Beginning principal filming for feature-length documentary!
We are excited to use the rewards offered through THE PROSECUTORS to share images taken of the countries we are focusing on through the film. The often rare books by photographers like Marcus Bleasdale, Ron Haviv, and Gary Knight offer intimate views of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Bosnia and Herzegovina that will take you on journeys through these important regions. Our limited edition poster, field notebook, and postcard series is being created by long term graphic design collaborators whose work is collected internationally.
Director & Producer Leslie Thomas, an Emmy-award winning art director, has directed many internationally exhibited multi-media installations and short format documentary films. She is the Founder and Executive Director of ART WORKS Projects.
Photographer & Producer Ted Chu (Bosnia and Herzegovina) has decades of experience shooting prominent feature and television films and series. He has traveled the globe as a cinematographer, naval officer, and as a member of the Peace Corps.
Photographer Michael Christopher Brown (Democratic Republic of Congo) has had work published in many international publications. His photography and experiences in Libya were featured in the HBO Witness: Libya documentary.
Photographer Jared Moosy (Bosnia and Herzegovina) recently filmed the HBO Witness series and works in both the photojournalism and commercial cinematography worlds.
Photographer Diana Alhindawi (Democratic Republic of Congo, including video thumbnail) brings her experience as a humanitarian aid worker in major crisis zones to her powerful photographic images.
Editor Nora Gully spent five years at legendary documentary house Kartemquin Films where she recent worked on the Emmy-award-winning The Interrupters.
Assistant Editor Maren Wickwire makes documentaries and multi-media projects that reflect her desire to see social change and justice.
Producer and Technical Director J. Matthew Jacob is an editor and post-production producer who works on a wide range of documentaries, commercials, features, and multi-media installations.
Designer and Art Director Giorgio Baravalle and his firm de.MO and Chad Sawyer and the Sawyer Agency are long term collaborators with the filmmakers.
Our Advisory Committee includes such collaborators as international photojournalists Marcus Bleasdale, Ron Haviv, and Gary Knight. Legal advisors include Judge Patricia Whalen, consultant to the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Patricia Viseur Sellers, Fellow Oxford University, Special Advisor to the Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court, and Galya Ruffer, JD, Director of the Center for Forced Migration Studies, Northwestern University. Ana Ramic, senior program office at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, is a project translator and advisor. She hails from Sarajevo, Bosnia.
THE PROSECUTORS is produced by ART WORKS Projects for Human Rights.
The Kickstarter video is produced by Manifest Media (Editor: Maren Wickwire, Title Design: Desiree Agngarayngay, Music: Tony Anderson, Salomon Lighthelm)
Risks and challenges
RISKS AND CHALLENGES
We have completed filming for the first short edit and have secured an invitation to the Global Summit – a venue where this film can make the most impact! With support from the Kickstarter community we can achieve this goal. Once that goal has been completed - we are ready to move forward and garner the full support needed to finish a feature length film that can help bring justice to all of those impacted by sexual violence in conflict.
- (38 days)