War/Dance

A friend of mine has an exciting job. Among other things, she’s working with some filmmakers on a documentary. When she first told me about the project, she was really excited about one of the other films the filmmakers made. It had done well at Sundance last year; winning Best Directing for Documentary and nominated for the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary. Pretty impressive stuff. She was so excited about their previous film that she sent me a copy. It was so impulsive, that she sent it to an old address. She sent a second copy and I got a chance to finally watch it. The movie is War/Dance or War Dance. And it happens to have been nominated for an Academy Award earlier this week for Best Documentary. I absolutely love the movie and here is a short summary and three points that merit it’s nomination.

Uganda is having it’s National Music Festival and filmmakers Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine follow three members of a refugee camp school as they train for and compete in the competition. They are the only team coming out of the war zone to compete.

Beauty: The film is insanely beautiful. All aspects from the dance, the colors, the landscapes of Uganda and the sounds. The visuals, stories, and sounds help to create images that don’t leave your consciousness very quickly.

Insight: Whether the team won anything or not, the subject was found in the bush of Uganda and pursued. It shows incredible insight into the heart of the story; these amazing kids who won’t let the terrible hand they’ve been dealt in life to affect their attitudes and their outlook. The selfless adults that work with these children are also so amazing.

Unspoken Call to Action: Never in the film do they try to tell us something. The innocently show us a story unfold and let us react. There is no celebrity who tells you how you can help these children. There’s no connection to an organization to donate money to. There is no call to action. The filmmakers leave it to you to draw your own conclusions. Many people will be able to watch this movie without letting themselves be changed by the story or the exposure to the world, many other people will hear the unspoken call to make a difference in their world.I can’t comment on the next project from Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine, but I trust their vision, insight and ability to expose the world to us in the form of Documentary film. I’ll be rooting for them come Oscar time. It will be released on DVD officially on April 15.

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