Uwe Boll makes a film worth noting

“If you start crying, or you think, I cannot watch it anymore … you have to think [I] can sit through [this film], because they are living through it. This is happening to these people right now.”

With these words, Uwe Boll launches his newest film, Darfur.

Boll, known for his adaptations of video games into full length films, has taken a step in a significantly different direction. He describes the film, shot in Cape Town, South Africa, as following six journalists as they embark on a trip to document the massacre occurring in Darfur, Sudan.

Darfur spans a period of three days, in which six journalists convince their African Union guide to take them to a village in Janjaweed territory. Once they get there, the journalists see how deeply in fear, of the government and the Janjaweed (a rebel militia), the Sudanese live. While they are interviewing Sudanese men and women for accounts to take back home and prove to the UN that a genocide has occurred, the Janjaweed show up at the village, and threaten to kill the journalists if they do not leave. Four of the six journalists choose to leave the camp, but two remain behind.

“We had... well, basically the idea was that the actors took care of themselves. They were supposed to be journalists, and they would act and ask the Sudanese what they experienced. The Sudanese were not given lines... where the one woman, who broke down because her whole family had been killed. That had actually happened to her,” Boll elaborates.

In fact, when filming Darfur, the only real actors were those portraying the journalists (including actor Billy Zane), members of the African Union and those playing the Janjaweed.

While there are moments in the film that could be criticized for using too many hand held shots, the focus of Darfur should remain on what is important - the message that Boll is trying to spread.

Don Wright, Regional Coordinator for Amnesty International, agreed with Boll, “as gruesome and emotional as this film is, it’s still important that this is the message we are spreading … something needs to be done to stop this.”

In fact, Wright explained just how honest Darfur is compared to the current situation occurring in Sudan: “Everything we saw in the film was very realistic – the rape, murders of the children. All of that was authentic because we have heard the same things from the survivors we have interviewed.”

“Village after village [is] being attacked and burnt to the ground, and so when the Janjaweed in the film say that they were clearing Darfur of Africans, it was very realistic in terms of what has been happening in Darfur. Even the final shot of the village being bombed and burnt to the ground was realistic. Amnesty had an agreement with a satellite company a couple of years ago, who would supply us with images of villages. You would see the village the day before it was attacked, it was lively, and the next day after the Janjaweed attacked, you would see the burned out shell of the village.”

While Boll’s Darfur may be very effective in creating the shock factor sometimes required to get people to do something about a situation that often seems worlds away, Wright explained how Amnesty International looks at reaching people.

“There are different ways to reach people – Amnesty does a lot of on the ground documentaries and reports, that include interviews with survivors, and if you were to use your imagination you could certainly arrive at the same picture. Or you’ve got the film that is meant for broad release, and it gives you those images.”

“I make the movie, because we push the information away from ourselves every day we are alive. And in that, we fail.” Boll explained that to him it was more important than just spreading the information, but in creating a group of people who actively start advocating for the Sudanese. “We watch this stuff, and [often] we do nothing. I want [people] to watch this film and want to do something.”

“Darfur” was screened by Amnesty International and Canadian Students for Darfur. Another screening will be put on in early February at Silver City in Metropolis, though the publicist at the time was unsure of the specific date. For more information on how to help pressure the international community to bring a stop to the massacre that is happening in Sudan, visit or

//Nicole Mucci

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