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Darfur Now

Six Stories. One Hope

The ongoing atrocities in Darfur, Sudan, remain one of the world’s great challenges – not just to our politicians but to each of us individually. Eventually, when the crisis ends, what can we say we did to help resolve it? This is the question that drives Ted Braun’s urgent, necessary new documentary. Darfur Now follows six people who have taken up the challenge to help stop the murder, rape and displacement which the Fur, Zaghawa and Masalit people of Darfur have suffered since 2003. One of those six is a movie star, and it is to this film’s great credit that his work on Darfur is stitched seamlessly together with the others’ efforts. Don Cheadle first became active in humanitarian crises in Africa after starring in Hotel Rwanda. Darfur Now shows him continuing to spend the currency of his celebrity to make the situation in Darfur more widely known and impossible to dismiss. ‘We’re trying to speak in a loud voice now,’ he says, ‘so that people cannot say “I was unaware”. They can only say “I acted” or “I stood by."’ As Cheadle and George Clooney press their case at the United Nations and in oil-hungry China – Sudan’s largest trading partner – young activist Adam Sterling tries to steer a divestment campaign through the Byzantine corridors of the California legislature. Celebrity rears its glossy head there, too, since Sterling’s ultimate goal is to win the support of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Far from the spotlights, Ahmed Mohammed Abakar does his best to alleviate suffering at Darfur’s Hamada displaced persons camp. High in the Jebel Marra mountains, one of a surprising number of Darfuri women fighters, Hejewa Adam, trains to battle the Janjaweed militia. And working at the UN’s World Food Programme, Pablo Recalde tries to feed legions of displaced people. Perhaps the most critical task is left to Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor at The Hague’s International Criminal Court, who is charged with bringing those responsible for the most serious crimes to justice. It is this that unites all six subjects of Braun’s powerful film. The title Darfur Now is no accident. This film insists that since the crimes continue now, now is the time to act. Cameron Bailey, Toronto International Film Festival
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Directed by: 
Ted Braun
Running Time: 
In Fur, Arabic and English with English subtitles
Documentary Feature
Screenplay by: 
Ted Braun

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