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Invisible Children

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Story of children in Uganda kidnapped in the middle of the night and trained as soldiers to kill.

Screening taking place at a church in philadelphia, pa on july 23rd.

Its an incomplete documentary they hope to raise money for and go back to Uganda and finish the story.

www.invisiblechildren.com

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Wow -- I still haven't seen the doc, but the website is impressive. The trailer is unbelievable. I ran across something in UTNE magazine about it, and visited the website. Did I just miss this, or has this really been under the radar? Because one of the comments on the home page is enough to get my attention:

Invisible Children is not only breaking new ground, but has had a bigger impact on my life than any other documentary I've ever seen. - Jon Turtletaub, director (National Treasure)

I see there is a screening shortly at Seattle Pacific University -- and many other screenings, in churches and elsewhere. I'll be interested in any comments from people who see this, and I'm hoping to be in touch with these guys soon.

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An internet acquaintance of mine whose church showed this film reported a bit of dismay at some of the marketing that seems to be accompanying this film in its travels. Like, merchandise associated with the film that seemed, in his view, to be kind of lamely commoditizing the issues presented.

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FWIW, the merchandise is an attempt to raise money for a return trip/sequel film.

I wanted to like the film more, but in effect, it's the self-consciously "hip" home video journal of some Christian 20-somethings who went to Africa for an adventure and came smack into face with real poverty and injustice for the first time in their lives. As such, it feels like the typical "first mission trip experience" that many middle class American Christians have, and while it does highlight important issues, there's a lot of "look what we had to eat!" and "look where we had to sleep!" and "look at how poor these people are!" reactions that define much of the film.

But as such, it has been very successful at introducing youth groups to the idea of social justice and has spawned a huge grassroots campaign. In my opinion, it's not a great film, but I'm glad to see that it strikes a cord with a particular segment of the population. Something needs to.

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Ha--me too.

Actually, the funds aren't only for a return trip; they're also raising funds for the childrens' education, safety, etc.

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Mmrwaahahahahaha!

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my reaction was the same. i found myself actually getting annoyed and almost offended at the first part (lightbulb over head?)

FWIW, i think these kids' intentions are good. they're raising awareness of something that most people in the US (especially teenagers--the film's target audience) don't know anything about.

Edited by finnegan

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My sister brought the Invisible Children DVD home when she came back for Azusa University. The couple of guys who made the film spoke at her campus and she got a chance of meeting them.

I really believe that it is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. It is moving and also humorous in some parts. The scene where they cut off the chicken's head was kind of scary, but overall I thought the film was very good.

If you have a chance to see it I highly reccommend it.

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I attended a viewing of this documentary in April, at a church other than my own. I was both moved and annoyed by it. Moved, because the filmmakers capture an important story -- and, moreover, manage to make us care deeply about several individual Ugandan boys -- that only a heart of stone could be indifferent to; annoyed, for the same reason that has already been alluded to in this thread, and for an additional reason that may be a personal idiosyncrasy of mine.

My additional source of annoyance has to do with the gratuitous depiction of violence against animals in the first ten or so minutes of the documentary, namely, 1) the blowing up of a termite mound, 2) the killing of a snake by burning it and then chopping it into pieces with an axe, and 3) the decapitation of a live chicken. These scenes have a Jackass-like quality to them and they seem intended as humorous fodder for the primary target demographic of 15 to 25 year old viewers. Har-di-har-har. I doubt that St. Francis is laughing, and neither am I. I don't mean to suggest an equivalence between gratuitous violence against humans and gratuitous violence against animals, but does it not occur to these filmmakers that there might be some connection between the two? That the same disrespect for the holiness of life might be manifest in both situations? But enough of that, I suppose, since I have yet to find anyone else who has seen the film who has shared this reaction of mine.

Despite my reservations, I asked for permission to show this documentary at our church, and the viewing was last night. But what I decided to do, in consultation with our pastor and our Christian ed. cmte. chair, was to start the DVD at the third chapter stop, i.e. at about the 12' 45" mark, and show it from that point forward (which makes for about 42' of running time). That point in the film happens to provide a fairly natural "second" beginning, because it starts with a title shot that says "Invisible Children" and, more to the point, the filmmakers have gotten past all the look-at-me-I'm-making-an-African-documentary self consciousness that mars the beginning of the film. Really, from that point on, it's a reasonably tight and well done documentary. Also, I only noticed a couple of passing references to scenes in the first (omitted) portion of the film, and they were not jarring. Now, mind you, it goes against all my instincts to not show a film in its entirety -- artistic integrity and all that -- but the guys who made this documentary make no bones about the fact that it is essentially unfinished ("Rough Cut" is part of the title, after all). That is my rationalization, anyway, and I'm sticking to it <g>.

Last night, I'd say we had fifteen to twenty people in attendance. Everyone sat in silence immediately after it was over, but it was the kind of silence that suggested reflection and some as-yet-unworked-out effects possibly in the making.

Mike McIntyre

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