Familiar Voices (Canada & USA, 1 hr 7 min)
Directed by: Danny Mendoza
'Familiar Voices' is a self-financed, feature length, not-for-profit documentary covering reactions to the ongoing crisis in Darfur. Its purpose is to empower, not overwhelm, its audiences; to engage those audiences in a respectful dialogue, rather than wagging its finger at them; and to help those audiences clearly understand their relationship to this crisis. Through voices and visuals connected with Nobel Peace Prize winners, soldiers, Darfuri refugees, celebrities, humanitarian aid workers, politicians, university level (and fifth-grade) activists, and others, old messages regarding responsibility and hope are delivered in new ways - ones that are direct, concrete, and accessible. It includes: interviews throughout the U.S. and Canada; protests throughout the U.S.; and footage from South Darfur, Eastern Chad, and the Central African Republic.
Familiar Voices: A Reaction to the Crisis in Darfur Review by Lavanya Sunkara Over 400,000 dead. 2.5 million displaced. A genocide that most of the world ignores. Darfur, a place many sympathize with but rarely think about is brought to the spotlight in the riveting documentary Familiar Voices by Danny Mendoza. In this independently financed not-for-profit feature, you will hear from Nobel Peace Prize winners to politicians to elementary school children all trying to reach out about the crisis in western Sudan that continues to escalate without outside intervention. In the ongoing ethnic cleansing by the government supported Janjaweed of the black Muslim population to take over their land, the heavily armed militia attack at dawn on horseback, destroy villages, slaughter children, burn the elderly alive, poison wells with dead bodies and take away the women to gang rape, mutilate and abandon. Those that escape end up walking miles to internally displaced refugee camps where little humanitarian aid awaits. They survive on roots and leaves, and watch as their kin die slow painful deaths from disease and malnutrition. Women who venture out of the camps for firewood face more attacks by the militia. With no money, no resources, and in constant fear, they are in desperate need for help. Mendoza built this empowering film around those who’ve visited the camps, doctors who cared for the sick in the middle of the desert, those that heard firsthand horrific accounts from women that are targeted systematically to weaken the society, and the human rights activists and lawmakers advocating for a resolution. UNICEF ambassador Mia Farrow, professor and Sudan activist Eric Reeves, Nobel Peace Prize winners Jody Williams and Elie Wiesel, Senator Romeo Dallaire of Canada, RFK Humanitarian Award recipient Dr. Mohammad Ahmed Abdallah, Congressman Jim McGovern, interfaith activist Ruth Messinger, and concerned citizens offer their unique experiences and analysis about this devastating human tragedy. Their collective voice- loud and clear- this war on the innocent needs to end before it is too late. We can all help, whether by writing letters to our elected officials or divesting our nest eggs from banks lending money to the perpetrators committing heinous crimes. The film offers tangible actions through which we can all directly affect change. For more information, please visit the following sites. Amnesty International Eyes on Darfur http://www.eyesondarfur.org/ Darfur Rehabilitation Project http://www.darfurrehab.org/home.html Enough Project http://www.enoughproject.org/ Familiar Voices http://www.familiarvoicesmovie.com/home.html Genocide Intervention http://genocideintervention.net/ Jewish World Watch http://www.jewishworldwatch.org/conflictareas/sudan Save Darfur http://www.savedarfur.org/ The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity http://www.eliewieselfoundation.org/