Watchers of the Sky focuses on a daunting insight, that brutality can take many forms, from war making to banking. Just so, it revolves around the concept of genocide, as complicated as it is horrific. The film follows the decades-long effort of activist Raphael Lemkin—who invented the term “genocide” in order to make it a legal and political as well as moral issue—to convince nations that it’s in their interests to institute a tribunal to hold accountable those who commit the atrocity, even if this means all other nations might monitor their internal affairs. Inspired by US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, A Problem from Hell, Edet Belzberg’s documentary includes as well the stories of humanitarians including Luis Moreno-Ocampo (working on behalf of the International Criminal Court to prosecute Omar al-Bashir in Darfur) and Emmanuel Uwurukundo, working on behalf of Rwandan genocide survivors.
Latest Blog Posts
Talal Derki is walking as he speaks in voiceover, walking through what’s left of Homs. That is to say, he’s “walking through” quite literally. Certainly, he’s crossing from one room to another, but more dauntingly, as he walks, the camera follows him from one home to another: he’s walking not through doorways but through holes in walls, holes created with hammers, so that people who have not evacuated the city, who mean to fight and document the fight, can pass under some modicum of safety and cover, unseen by snipers and men with rocket launchers, waiting to shoot at anyone they spot.
“I remember feeling frightened,” says Hafsat Abiola. “I just didn’t feel I could trust the police or their soldiers any more.” This after her mother, Kudirat Abiola, the charismatic leader of a pro-democracy movement in Nigeria, was assassinated in 1996. As Hafsat today looks back on that fraught history, so personal as well as so frighteningly public, she also looks forward with hope. The founder of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy tells her story in The Supreme Price, which considers the many complexities of Nigeria, ruled by a series of military regimes from 1966-1996. As current events continue to swirl—including the terrors of Boko Haram and the troubling presidency of Goodluck Jonathan—Hafsat persists.
Eric Von Haessler’s documentary Scarred But Smarter tells the tale of a band that, while under the radar by the average person’s standards, have nonetheless remained vital and influential over the course of its now 30-year tenure: the Atlanta indie rock outfit Drivin’ N’ Cryin’. Few bands last as long as this trio, comprised of singer/songwriter Kevn Kinney, guitarist Tim Nielsenand, and drummer Paul Lenz; that the group has remained headstrong is but one of many reasons why a film about its musical journey is so fascinating a document.