Documentary makes Uganda visible
Posted May 4, 2007
Seanette Garcia
On her way home from class sophomore Farrah Shattuck is drawn into a movie of Northern Ugandan children who were trying to avoid being kidnapped by a rebel group called the Lord’s Resistance Army. The film, “Invisible Children: Rough Cut,” was shot and produced by University of Southern California graduate Jason Russell. Russell and two friends sought to make a documentary of people living in Africa. During the trip Russell found himself in an environment where every day children are being taken from their families and forced into lives of violence.

In a night filled with horrific images and sad children’s faces, the Campus Activities Board hosted a philanthropy event, in which the documentary “Invisible Children: Rough Cut” was shown to students on Tuesday night in Leo’s Den.

“Invisible Children” tells the story of children growing up in Uganda and the struggles they face each day. Some talked about their experiences fighting in the army and others talked about their dead family members.

The documentary also showed the faces of those who had been killed as a result of the conflict and the extreme poverty in which these children live. Some of those who had been killed were also those interviewed in the documentary.

The film was shown as part of an effort to raise awareness.

“I think it’s good for the students to see what’s going on in other parts of the world,” said Nick Solis, interim philanthropy chairman for CAB.

Some said watching the documentary was a difficult experience for them.

“To see the images of the kids packed into the room, sleeping side by side like sardines, it was horrible,” said Michelle Hu, a senior speech communications major.

The fact that children were being forced to kill one another also affected those watching the documentary.

“I hate to think that these are children,” said Alé Velasco, a sophomore liberal studies major.

During the documentary, Solis was also raising money to help the Invisible Children Foundation. He was selling bracelets that people could buy for one dollar. Attached to the bracelet was a piece of paper that further informed people of the situation in Uganda. All of the money made from the bracelets will go to the Foundation.

The crowd sat on the couches or on the floor.

There was a separate event going on at the same time the movie was showing.

Solis said that he noticed that people from that event were stopping to see some of the documentary, which he said was helpful in making them more aware of what is going on.

For many students the film made them want to help make the situation better.

“What I got from the movie was that people need to step up and take action,” said Kaitlin Eckert, a freshman psychology major.

Others said watching the movie allowed them to see life differently.

“It made me get out of my comfort zone and made me look at other people’s lives,” said Lorissa Ojeda, a junior liberal studies major.

Some said it is important for college students to help make the changes that need to be made.

“We’re the adults who have the power to make a change,” Hu said.

The documentary was made by college students and at the end the
filmmakers asked those watching to aid in the situation.

For more information visit www.invisiblechildren.com.

Hilda Ann Venegas can be reached at hvenegas@ulv.edu.

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