A documentary film revealing untold stories from the 20 year long war in Northern Uganda between Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the Ugandan Government Under Current President Yoweri Museveni
A Brilliant Genocide director Ebony Butler and her London based collaborator Belinda Atim spoke with Joseph Ochieno on Talking Africa (Resonance 104.4fm) yesterday afternoon about our documentary, the conspiracy of silence around the war in Uganda and the largely untold story of state sponsored atrocities in the north and east of the country. Belinda starts off the interview discussing the recent news of Uganda and the U.S stopping the six year man hunt for rebel leader and supposed most wanted man in Africa, and top 10 most wanted in the world, Joseph Kony. The question of whether or not A Brilliant Genocide had anything to do with the decision did come up, as many people seem to believe our film was a cause for the unexpected change of heart regarding the massive man hunt for Joseph Kony which has to date cost close to if not over one billion US dollars. I bet the US taxpayers aren’t aware of that – nor that the money was largely looted and used for other purposes, oppression, invasions and to help build one of the strongest armies in East Africa…. to essentially help entrench the dictator in power for longer. (31 years years is a long time in power, but it seems Museveni can’t get enough)
One other thing that was stressed in the interview was the importance of the petition that is attached to our documentary, primarily calling for US to stop funding and military support to the Ugandan regime. You can help end the silence by signing and sharing the petition here: www.bit.ly/STOPM7 Thank you!
How to Tune in Next Time:
If you have the internet you can tune in live from anywhere in the world on Resonance 104.4FM in London – but best to come back the same time next week (Thursday, pm-2pm GMT) for the Talking Africa program… I’m sure we will be back for a few more shows as there is so much to cover and we only scratched the very tip pf the iceberg yesterday!
We are honoured to be a part of the 11th We The People’s Film Festival in London! Over the weekend we had another sell out event and hosted a great panel talk after the screening at Hackney Picturehouse. Unfortunately we were unable to respond to everyone who had questions but we will endeavour to get back to all as soon as possible! (Thanks Belinda!) But all in all it was a very successful screening, and not the last in London that’s for sure!
This morning we received a surprise call asking if we would allow A Brilliant Genocide to be screened again, this time for the awards ceremony which takes place tonight in London at the British Film Institute.
Of course we said yes! What an honour and great opportunity we were offered! We want as many people as possible seeing this film, signing our petition and learning about the tragic and silenced past of so many people from northern Uganda, at the hands of their own government.
Wish us luck ahead of this evenings event! Our amazing UK team and organisers have been incredible, working tirelessly and taking control over the marketing and promotion of our film and all other areas of organisation for the festival. Essentially it is their story and they want to be actively involved in getting out out there. I am so very proud! Seeing our documentary grow the way it is, especially having some key characters in the film itself helping to drive its success and build its audience, is an incredibly rewarding experience.
A special thanks to my brothers Joseph Ochien, Bosco Nyeko and my sister Belinda Atim! Wonderful people with huge hearts, and a long and untold story to tell. So please try and see it, listen to it, learn from it and help us demand justice and an end to the silence that has now gone on for some 30 years. The TV version of the film is screening on RT / Russia Today over the next 5 months – so please look out for it in your country or online at rt.com!
Your voice also counts and you can help make a difference. Please if you can spare a few minutes sign and share our petition on change.org: www.bit.ly/STOPM7
Thank you so very much! We hope to be back with more news soon! #EndTheSilence
We the People’s Film Festivalis a United Nations Association Westminster Branch organized event.
Contextualising genocide is difficult. The millions (billions?) of words written on the Holocaust attest to the challenge. A Brilliant Genocide manages to successfully tell the story of the most neglected humanitarian crisis since the formation of the United Nations. The salient facts are brought to the fore to create a cohesive narrative of the Acholi genocide that does not shy away from any of the guilty parties, be they government or rebel. Both Museveni and Kony face documentary reckoning.
This is a brave film, not least because it faces the very real possibility of getting people killed. That is not a criticism. There is no other way to tell the truth without risk. I do not want to recount here what happened in Northern Uganda over the past three decades, Ebony Butler does a better job of that than I could, I want people to see the film for themselves. A Brilliant Genocide allows the survivors, politicians, academics, and soldiers to speak for themselves, to tell their own stories. In doing so, the war is humanised in a way that is not possible through any other medium. The visceral emotion of men and women discussing the atrocities they endured is not lost as it may be if they are just read about. Their accounts are supplemented by archive footage and Hieronymus Bosch-like depictions of torture and violence. All this is done in an unobtrusive style, understanding that no rhetorical device can match simple truth telling.
“TO REITERATE: FIND A WAY OF WATCHING THIS FILM”
Butler must be especially commended (I can think of no other word) for securing interviews with male survivors of rape. A taboo subject everywhere, but particularly in Uganda. It is not known for LGBT rights and homophobic attacks are commonplace. All of the survivors who appear in the film speak with dignity and measure. At no point does it descend into calls for retribution, no matter how tempting that must have been sometimes. I honestly do not know what more I can say about this documentary. It frankly should not have needed to be made. The Acholi genocide should be ranked alongside the killing fields and Rwanda in the worst excesses of the past century. That so few are knowledgeable is tragic.
A Brilliant Genocide is a stunning exemplar of what film is capable of. I hope that a wider release can be secured through streaming services or even just free on Youtube. It needs to be watched. The survivors need to be heard. I do not know if the film can find justice for the Acholi or even the peace they deserve. However, I do know that the more people that are aware of the genocide, the more uncomfortable it will be for the perpetrators. The spotlight will take away their hiding spaces. To reiterate: find a way of watching this film. If you cannot then please try and read about the war. It has taken 100 years for the Armenian genocide to be fully recognised and acknowledged. The Acholi do not have that long.
We are honoured to be included in the year’s official selection at the Lighthouse International Film Festival, on Longbeach Island, New Jersey.
This will be the last screening until late August in Moscow. Don’t miss out.
We also have an expert panel joining us after the screening to answer any questions and to offer their expert views.
Allimadi who is also featured in ‘A Brilliant Genocide’ is the Ugandan born editor of www.blackstarnews.com and www.burkinastyle.com and also writes a column for www.huffingtonpost.com His late father was a Ugandan politician and his family fled from Idi Amin’s and then Yoweri Museveni’s reigns of terror.
Kiwanuka Lawrence Nsereko
Nsereko is a Ugandan journalist, political activist, freedom fighter and now U.S.-based professor. He was incarcerated and tortured by the Yoweri Museveni dictatorship before escaping the country.
Epstein’s articles on human rights and public health in Uganda and other African countries have appeared in The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The Lancet and other publications. She is the author of The Invisible Cure: Why We Are Losing the Fight against AIDS in Africa (Picador 2008) and has conducted research for Human Rights Watch, UNICEF and other organizations. She teaches at Bard College in Annandale, New York.
The screening will take place on Saturday the 21st of May at 9pm, in Santa Monica’s Edgar Centre for the Arts. Change is coming to #Uganda and justice is too. Join us.
The Cinema at the Edge in Santa Monica, CA is one of the “Top 10 destination film festivals in the world,” Our film festival screens over 60 films, mostly by new filmmakers and rising stars. Come and join this Los Angeles film festival.
Cinema at the Edge Film Festival (CATE) celebrates independent films of all genres that feature a distinct vision, a unique voice, or a challenge to what is expected and accepted in the medium. Submit your film and join us for great movies, panels, parties, and more!
It’s been busy few months in the studio editing this documentary… With plans for completion by the end of the year!
Soon we will have a new title for the film and website/facebook/twitter etc – But you’ll have to wait a few months for that special release!
Right now we are working every single day and night to complete this film and get the story out there!
We currently have an 87 minute edit that’s working well. We are close – but still there’s lots of post production work to be done including animating maps, securing archive material, sound design, narration, translating, subtitling and much more – But nevertheless we are getting there!
Please stay with us… Your support is integral to getting the truth told and to give not only a voice but also justice to the voiceless victims of a most tragic war in Northern Uganda that warrants the attention of the world.
I was recently in Northern Uganda (Odek) where I spent some time with the victims of Nodding Disease, and their parents / guardians or only surviving family members. It was a period, and experience in my life I will always hold close to my heart, and could never forget. The faces of these children still haunt me to this day. I hope through my work with children around the world sick or not, that I have been able to make them smile, cheer them up, make them giggle and laugh through their suffering… But this was a different story altogether. The suffering, the pain, the anguish and isolation of these poor, sick and neglected people, is a sad story that has its roots buried far beyond the first outbreak of Nodding Disease.
The sad truth is that the government of Uganda does not really care about the poor young Acholi children in the North who are suffering, then dying of this shocking Nodding disease. When I was in Uganda a couple of months ago, there was so much local media showing President Museveni out in health clinics and setting up facilities for nodding disease victims and so forth. That was while I was in the same country. Actually! During my time in Northern Uganda; the President just flew in for many media opportunities. Speaking about these issues, I would say I have spent more time in Northern Uganda than the President himself. I would have spent more time on Acholi soil, speaking Acholi (a little, but a little more than President Museveni), working with them; learning; sharing; caring; teaching; drinking; eating; laughing; living; crying with them… and establishing life-long friends with them! Oh, my heart goes out to my dear Acholi friends from the North!
So all this news about the children being looked after and in hospital is a total lie. Because I have witnessed firsthand the suffering and the devastation of these young and older families who have children with the disease, I spent time with them, I listened to their stories and I saw with my own eyes what was going on. It is a total travesty by the Government of Uganda. There may be some health clinics set up for a few certain children, but in Odek, Josph Kony’s hometown, situated between Gulu and Pader (closer to Pader), hashundreds and hundreds of children with Nodding Disease, WITHOUT ANY AID AT ALL.
There have been a lot of funds that were supposed to be allocated to Nodding Disease, but they didn’t make it, if some did, it would surely be under 10% of what was allocated. I did not witness one clinic for the disease in all of Uganda, (Northern Uganda) yet I witnessed, on what was the most horrific and heartbreaking period of my 2 month trip there, so many young girls and boys, either tied to trees by their parent (usually only one guardian exists) to prevent them from hurting themselves as Nodding Disease victims often lose control of their behaviour and run towards fire and water, resulting in devastating and too often deadly consequences. I also interviewed the guardians, parents or remaining relatives of the young Nodding Disease victims.
The interviews offered interesting perspectives not so often discussed or dissected in corporate or commercial media. Insights given often pointed to the World Food Programme‘s (WFP) food and the possibility that it was contaminated, either by accident or as some would argue, was a deliberate move by the Ugandan Government. It seems almost clear that the children who are affected by Nodding Disease, who are generally between the ages of 6 and 15 years, were infected during the time of the massive forced encampment of the Acholi into overcrowded, unprotected, disease ridden and violence prone Internally Displacement Camps (IDP camps), a.k.a ‘death camps’ or ‘modern day concentration camps’. It was around this period when all food was supplied to the encamped Acholi by the World Food Programme, and the disease started to become apparent. (2003 I believe).
I will post a few more images here of other children I met with Nodding Disease, that were not treated at all, despite the severity of their conditions. Many have since died but these figures are not shown in official statistics, in fact, Odek was rarely mentioned in the media as an area that had suffered greatly from it. It’s a very sad story and one that demands greater attention from Uganda, and also, the rest of the world.
The boy I am pictured with below had the early symptoms of the mysterious & often fatal Nodding Disease.Let’s pray that his situation has not worsened and that he is receiving at least some medical care.
*If you haven’t yet heard of ‘Nodding Disease’, that means it needs serious attention from the international community, so scream and shout, tell people, and do your bit! Help spread the message that Nodding Disease victims (who are all children) need our help, now!
OCTOBER 4, 2017 – followed by Panel Talk with Milton Allimadi, Helen Epstein and Ogenga Otunnu
BELOIT INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Screenings on February 25 and March 1st, 2017.
THE INTERNATIONAL UGANDAN CONVENTION
The Hague, Netherlands
February 24, 2017, 7.30pm
Many thanks to Moses Atocon, The Hague Peace Projects and The Ugandan Diaspora P10 and EU Diaspora. Also, we must extend our thanks to the honourable Dr. Kizza Besigye and Olara Otunnu for their attendance and their support with the film and wider justice project.
WE THE PEOPLE’S FILM FESTIVAL
November 10 at 7pm and
November 13 (at the Official Award’s Ceremony)
LONE STAR FILM FESTIVAL
Sundance Square Cinema 1
Fort Worth, Texas
November 11 at 3pm
DOCUMENT INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL
CAMBRIDGE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
October 22 and October 23
LONE STAR FILM FESTIVAL
November 10 – 12 (TBC)
RAINDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
Best Feature Documentary Nominee
September 27 at 3pm and
September 30 at 9pm
Piccadilly Circus, London
LONG BEACH INDIE FILM AND MUSIC FESTIVAL
Long Beach, California USA
SCREENING September 3rd
VOICELESS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Oakland, Bay Area, San Fransciso CA
September the 11th of 9pm Sharp
Q and A following screening hosted by Journalist Ann Garrison from KFPA Bay Radio.
WILLIAMSBURG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Brooklyn, New York
Q & A to Follow with special guests Milton Allimadi and Helen Epstein
RAINDANCE Film Festival UL
Director Ebony Butler will be attending.
KITZBUHEL FILM FESTIVAL
August 22 – Aug 28, 2016
ESPERANZA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
August 18 – 25, 2016
LIGHTHOUSE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
LongBeach Island, New Jersey
Saturday June 11th at 3:30pm followed by Panel Q and A http://liff.festivalgenius.com/2016
DC INDIE FILM FEST
Hollywood Independent Documentary Awards
WINNER OF BEST DOCUMENTARY
LA Women’s International Film Festival
L.A LIVE Cinema, Hollywood
WINNER OF BEST FEATURE DOCUMENTARY FILM!!
Universe Multicultural Film Festival
Palm Beach International Film Festival
April 7 and 14
NOMINATED FOR BEST FEATURE DOCUMENTARY!
Julien Dubuque International Film Festival
Carmarthen Bay Film Festival – Wales
Cinema A The Edge (CATE) Film Festival
Santa Monica, L.A
Saturday 21st of May, 2016 at 9pm
Tickets at cinemaattheedge.com
Polish Film Festival
ESPERANZA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL