I’m surprised we have yet to profile this documentary on the site. Fambul Tok, directed by Sara Terry and produced by Terry, Rory Kennedy and Libby Hoffman, is a story about victims of the Sierra Leon war conflict, who learn to forgive and live amongst each other after being forced by rebels to commit atrocious acts against members of their own families and community.
The film premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and won awards in Nashville, Fort Myers and Global Change film festivals earlier this year. Here’s the full synopsis:
Fambul Tok tells the story of healing in post-conflict Sierra Leone through the intimate stories of perpetrators and victims, including:
Esther and Joseph – family members who were caught in the horrors of the war. At age 12 Esther was captured by rebels, and raped by 15 men. Among them was her uncle, Joseph. He, too, had been caught by the rebels and ordered to rape Esther – or be killed.
Sahr and Nyumah – best friends whose lives were forever changed by the conflict. Rebel forces turned the two boys on each other, forcing Nyumah to beat his best friend so severely that he crippled him – and then forcing him to cut the throat of his best friend’s father.
The villagers of Foendor and Tamba Joe, the native son who killed and beheaded 17 members of his own clan.
Victims and perpetrators of Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war come together for the first time in an unprecedented program of tradition-based truth-telling and forgiveness ceremonies. Through reviving their ancient practice of fambul tok (family talk), Sierra Leoneans are building sustainable peace at the grass-roots level – succeeding where the international community’s post-conflict efforts failed. Filled with lessons for the West, this film explores the depths of a culture that believes that true justice lies in redemption and healing for individuals – and that forgiveness is the surest path to restoring dignity and building strong communities.
These stories are important but hard to watch. I will definitely be looking out for this when it comes out on DVD this October 25th.
Take a look at the trailer.