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Film Festival Raises More Than $1,200 for Uganda Relief Efforts

Oct. 31, 2005 -- Students raised more than $1,200 for relief efforts in northern Uganda following a screening of the documentary "Invisible Children" in October at the College's fourth annual Human Rights Film Festival.

"Invisible Children" was made by three college students who traveled to Uganda to document the plight of children in northern Uganda who are being kidnapped, tortured, and forced to kill as part of a genocidal rebel movement. Filmmaker Bobby Bailey attended the screening and answered questions.

The money goes to Invisible Children Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing financial resources to children caught in conflict by documenting their true, untold stories and seeking positive change. The filmmakers seek to expose the effects of a 20-year war on the children of Northern Uganda, and to empower viewers toward advocacy. They also will provide food, water, and the opportunity for an education to children in Uganda.

Students also coordinated a petition drive to urge the U.S. Congress to take a more aggressive approach in forcing the international community to intervene in the ongoing wars that are victimizing children in Uganda.

The film will be shown again in the Lecture Hall on the Doheny Campus at 7 p.m. Nov. 9.

The film festival is one opportunity for students in the College's Documentary Film and Social Justice program to learn about advocacy and human rights abuses around the world. Lecturer Pam Bruns, who teaches the class Advocacy and Human Rights, said the festival's theme is "children in conflict." Following film screenings, students are given opportunities to sign petitions and contact U.S. elected officials to help stop human rights abuses.

"What distinguishes the Mount Saint Mary’s University film festival from others is that we always have an immediate opportunity for students to do advocacy," said Bruns. "We don't want them to lose the passion they feel right after they watch a film."

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