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'Invisible Children' to Screen March 13-14
at UW-Eau Claire's Davies Theatre

RELEASED: March 7, 2006

poster for Invisible ChildrenEAU CLAIRE — "Invisible Children" (2003), a documentary that brings to light the forced conscription of children in the ongoing rebellion in Uganda, will be presented March 13-14 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The one-hour film will be presented at 7 p.m. Monday and at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in Davies Theatre.

In the spring of 2003, University of Southern California film school graduates Jason Russell and Bobby Bailey, along with their friend Laren Poole, traveled to Africa intending to film the humanitarian crisis in Sudan. They found themselves in the northern part of Uganda, witnessing the horrors of a 20-year rebellion in which most of the combatants — an estimated 80 to 90 percent — are children.

They discovered that children as young as eight were being methodically kidnapped nightly from their homes by a rebel group called the Lord's Resistance Army. The abducted children are desensitized to the horror of violence and killing as they themselves are turned into vicious killers. Some escape and hide in constant fear; most remain captive and grow to maturity with no education other than life in the bush and fighting in a guerilla war.

"Invisible Children" highlights what the community refers to as "night commuters," the thousands of children who migrate out of fear from the villages to nearby towns each night to avoid the LRA abductions. They sleep in public places, vulnerable and without supervision.

The film focuses on four young boys: Jacob, Thomas, Tony and Boni. Through them the audience relives the terror of abduction, the courage of survival, the heartbreak of losing a brother and the innate joy found in childhood. The three filmmakers were struck by the many things these children had in common with themselves and other young people in America.

As the three left northern Uganda, they were appalled by what they had seen but awed by the resilience and hope they found in these children and this community. The filmmakers wondered how such atrocity could have existed for such a long time without the world knowing.

They first screened "Invisible Children" in 2004 for friends and family and soon expanded to high schools, colleges and organizations. The film has sparked a grassroots movement to bring assistance to the children of northern Uganda. In September 2004, the filmmakers formed a nonprofit organization called Invisible Children, Inc. to coordinate the efforts of those who want to help. The organization has started an education program and a bracelet campaign that provides employment to Ugandans and helps fund the education program.

In addition to screenings around the nation, "Invisible Children" has been shown to the United Nations Association, at the Carter Center and at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Footage has also been shown on the Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN and the National Geographic Channel.

All screenings are free and open to the public. The film is sponsored by the University Activities Commission of the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate, the Northern Uganda Humanitarian Outreach, and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

-30-

JS/NW

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