An epic story of wartorn childhoods, redemption and renewal, shattered hopes and perseverance. In 1989, a childhood friendship is filmed by journalist Patrice Barrat in a Sudanese refugee camp by day, whilst the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) train the children for brutal militia activity at night. In 1991 the camp is bombed, the children thought dead. 23 years later, these 3 extraordinary lives inexplicably reconnect as they work toward peace and reconciliation within their own lives and for the future of South Sudan. This story is told through the life of South Sudanese refugee and Australian resident David Nyuol Vincent, the rebuilding of his life as a community leader in Australia and subsequent efforts to help restore peace to South Sudan. Other characters in the film include David’s childhood friend in the camps, Emmanuel Jal with whom he lost touch and thought dead and is now a famous international rap artist working for peace and Patrice Barrat, the French journalist who filmed them and connected the world to Sudan’s plight through images of their lost innocence. Now in 2014 Patrice has the same goals as David and Jal - through his NGO, Bridge Initiative International, he works with governments and stakeholders in conflict zones. David himself rebuilt his life, earning a BA double major in criminology and political science at Melbourne University, establishing himself as a community leader in Australia, and subsequently return to South Sudan to assist in the restoration of peace. As this is being written, violence has erupted anew partly due to the Nuer followers of Dr Riek Machar, adoptive father of David’s childhood companion Emmanuel Jal. In a further twist of irony, David had been working recently with Dr Riek for reconcilliation in South Sudan and to restore peace. As the potential for renewed civil war in South Sudan looms large, David will come together with Patrice, Emmanuel to work on a peace and reconcilliation project in South Sudan. This film is a uniquely Australian story that has international appeal and significance. The film is a topical and timely exploration of the political through the personal; the impact of one person’s positive action amongst the stripping of tolerance for asylum seekers and refugees in his adopted land, Australia, and renewed turbulence and violence in South Sudan.
How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?
This film puts a human face on the problems faced by the newly arrived Sudanese population in Victoria, Australia. It will be a catalyst for change and understanding in helping to bring different agencies together ie; Human services, Victorian Police Force, refugee resettlement programs, education dept, mental health services to create understanding and solutions for the complex issues facing the newly arrived Sudanese community in Australia and ultimately worldwide. The intention of this documentary is:To bridge the gap between different agencies by shedding light on the very real problems in the Victorian based Sudanese community cultural, psychological, cultural, economic, trauma, ptsd. Give a powerful voice to those who are largely voiceless in our society (refugees & grassroots community workers). Use the power of mass media to promote its messages widely-to be used as a tool by organizations such as Aust Multicultural Education Services (AMES) & Aust Red Cross to encourage fundraising and solutions-used as a tool to promote social inclusuion and human rights issues for African Australians-Create an inspirational tool for community activists. Challenge stereotypes-Promote self-esteem in areas of the largest resettlements ie. Dandenong-promote cultural identity.
What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?
Aims & Objectives
The proposed outcomes for this film are:Securing a TV broadcast (ABC or SBS) A dedicated, proactive viewing audience that will help promote acceptance in our community. Healing the judgement and blame in favour of a more compassionate understanding. Awareness of the enormous contribution that people from newly arrived communities can make to the quality of life of other Australians. An interactive internet portal will become an ongoing resource offering information about the Sudanese community - also to create a support-base for the Sudenese community here as the vote for succession is undertaken. The impact and success of the film will be measured by: Viewing audience, both TV and at local events Attendance at screenings The quality of debate generated as a direct result of watching the film Media coverage (TV, newspapers, magazines and radio) of the film that will in turn encourage further debate on the issues. Government action with regards to introducing a Human Rights Act in Australia Acceptance into film festivals, including specialist festivals ie:Human Rights Film Festival Victoria, Australia Change in the lives of the Sudenese people participating in the documentary: seeing their voices made visible.
What is your education and outreach strategy?
The intended audience for this documentary includes:
• A National TV broadcast
• Presentation to the United Nations (Ramu Damodaran, head of DPI – department of public information- is a friend of Patrice Barrat); UNHCR; Doctors without Borders (Rony Brauman is connected with the production and media department); The US Committee for Refugees (former director, Roger Winter is interested in S. Sudan).
• Screening at Film Festivals including- International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (Geneva). All the international organizations based there attend and debates are held after the films. (Bridge Initiative International was chosen as the NGO of the Year in 2005).
• Screening at International Federation on Human Rights: they co-organize screenings and launch campaigns around them.
• Screening at different African organisations: I.e./ African Peace building Network (APN) – integrates African knowledge into global policy communities. This social science research council promotes the visibility of African peace building knowledge among global and regional centers of scholarly analysis and practical action and makes it accessible to key policymakers at the United Nations and other multilateral, regional, and national policymaking institutions.
• African Leadership Centre (ALC) based in Nairobi, Kenya, and the Council for the Development of Social Science Research (CODESRIA) based in Dakar, Senegal.
• Africa Peace and Conflict Network (APCN).
• Film shown in universities and schools in South Sudan, conflict areas in Africa, organize debates and invite the press. Also screening of the film in villages across South Sudan on portable projection screens, shifting awareness from the militarization of the population to peaceful alternatives.
• Online Communities - Promoting issues through a web portal that includes translation in Arabic & Dinka.
Linking to global websites- “Global Voices on Line”, Georgia Poplewell and “Aavaz.Org”, Ricken Patel – to amplify the peaceful message of the film.
• Home viewing via DVD sales and hire
• Schools and universities via curriculum. Educational package including DVD and comprehensive Study Notes distributed to Australian Universities that offer Global Studies, Peace and Reconciliation, Human rights, Political Science, African studies, history, health and social inclusion.
Generating media interest, ie: Melbourne Age and Sydney Morning Herald, talk back radio; TV Insight with Jenny Brockey / ABC with Tony Jones
; International media. African media including SSTV, South Sudan.
• Special screenings for community groups. Filmmakers and representatives of the South Sudanese community will appear at selected screenings as part of a Q&A session to help generate cross-departmental debate. Some groups include:
, Red Cross
, World Vision, AEMS
, Amnesty International
, Brotherhood of St Lawrence., Neighbourhood Justice Centres
, Vic Police,
Mental Health Services,