The following is a compilation of films and documentaries relating to child soldiers and their stories.
A film by Nigerian-born director Newton Aduaka explores the psychological and social face of the problem, by telling the fictional story of one young victim kidnapped into a rebel force. It will screen commercially in New York for two weeks in February, and also play at Los Angeles’s Pan-African Film Festival. From Voice of America news.
Ezra is the first film to give an African perspective on the disturbing phenomenon of abducting child soldiers into the continent’s recent civil wars. Ezra is structured around the week-long questioning of a 16 year old boy, Ezra, before a version of the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, created in Sierra Leone in 2002 in the wake of its decade long civil war. This hearing is then inter-cut with chronological flashbacks to pivotal moments during Ezra’s ten years in the rebel faction which made him who he is.
Set in 1980’s El Salvador, where a boy’s twelfth birthday enlists him automatically in the army, Kella struggles to protect her family in the middle of a civil war. Kella’s son, Chava, spends his 11th year chasing a first love, shielding siblings from bullets, testing his mother, and taking on the role of his absent father.
Based on the true story of screenwriter Oscar Torres’s embattled childhood in 1980’s El Salvador, Innocent Voices is the poignant tale of Chava, an eleven-year-old boy. Chava suddenly becomes the “man of the house” in a time when the government’s army is forcibly recruiting twelve year olds to battle against the peasant rebels of the FMLN. It is a story of life, love, the hope of peace, and the ennobling power of the human spirit. From Amazon.com.
War Dance follows the courageous efforts of Potango’s students as they pour their hearts into winning this year’s music competition. The war has stolen their homes, their parents and their childhood. Pontango’s refugee camp packs 60,000 people into its endless squalor. There is no electricity, no running water, and no safe place. The bullet holes in the school walls tell the stories the children would rather forget. Two years ago the L.R.A. dragged 29 students from Potango’s schoolhouse to “join” the army.
Johnny Mad Dog-Trailer – Johnny Mad Dog portrays the atrocities of an ongoing civil war in an unnamed African nation. Although challenging to the core, it’s an important work that will scorch the sensibilities of the most jaded viewer; it also raises the question, can evil be forgiven?Fifteen-year-old Johnny Mad Dog heads a platoon of soldiers who are younger than he is. They’re armed to the teeth, sport a variety of bizarre outfits (odd headgear, angel wings, a wedding dress), and have adopted names such as No Good Advice, Captain Dust to Dust, and Chicken Hair. From Sundance Film Festival website.
The Documentary tells the personal story of Nepali boys and girls as they attempt to rebuild their lives after fighting a Maoist revolution. Through the voices of former child soldiers, the film examines why these children joined the Maoists and explores the prevention of future recruitment. The children describe their dramatic recruitment and participation in the Maoist People’s Liberation Army during the eleven-year civil war between the Maoist insurgents and the Hindu monarch of Nepal. The girls’ stories demonstrate how voluntarily joining the violent Maoist struggle became their only option to escape the gender discrimination and sexual violence of traditional Hindu culture in Nepal. With the major conflict ended and the Maoists in control of the government, these children are now discarded by the Maoist leadership and forced to return home to communities and families that want nothing to do with them. For many of the children of Nepal’s Maoist Army, the return home can be even more painful than the experience of war.
The true story of Senait Mehari, who came of age as a young girl soldier during the Eritrean civil war. For more information.
This is the story of World Champion Boxer, Kassim “The Dream” Ouma – born in Uganda, kidnapped by the rebel army and trained to be a child soldier at the age of 6. When the rebels took over the government, Kassim became an army soldier who was forced to commit many horrific atrocities, making him both a victim and perpetrator. He soon discovered the army’s boxing team and realized the sport was his ticket to freedom. After 12 years of warfare, Kassim defected from Africa and arrived in the United States. Homeless and culture shocked, he quickly rose through the boxing ranks and became Junior Middleweight Champion of the World.
The documentary team follows these children and films them under fire. They record the intimate stories of escapees from the rebel groups that routinely force the children into committing atrocities. They are present when these children re-unite with family and community, some undergoing a simple but emotionally charged ceremony of tribal rites and human compassion. Even back with their families, the children are not necessarily safe. They are kidnapped to be soldiers, escape, go home to their villages, only to be kidnapped again and again.
A documentary filmed in Northern Uganda about a religious fanatic named Joseph Kony who abducts, then brainwashes children turning then into “child soldiers.” Since 1990, Kony has kidnapped more than 12,000 children and forced them to commit unspeakable atrocities against their families and communities. This film is about the efforts of the Ugandan people to rehabilitate these children and reintroduce them into society. Written by Alfred Yesmar
Collected from youtube.com Nov 25, 2007 with the description: One courageous former 15 yr. old girl-child soldier from a small village in a region of the Congo tells us of the horrors she experienced in a personal interview with Everywoman TV. She spoke formally about her experience before the UN women’s annual conference, The Commission on the Status of Women – New York 2007..
WIDE ANGLE is with the center’s counselors as they help the physically and emotionally scarred children put their lives back together. Jennifer Akelo was abducted by the LRA when she was nine years old, handed a gun and trained to fight. Raped by a rebel soldier, Jennifer now fears that she is HIV positive. Kilama, 13, is rejected by his grandmother who is fearful of his turbulent past. Homeless, he wanders to the nearby city, like thousands of other children, in constant fear of being re-kidnapped by the rebels.