Director Jonathan Shuler is a multimedia journalist, specializing in trauma, economics, and technology in developing nations. His work (which has been seen seen on CNN, PBS, and BBC) has taken him to many parts of the world, including Kosovo, Sri Lanka, the DRC, Uganda, Tanzania, the Philippines, Bangladesh, and most recently, Kenya and Sudan.
And it’s in Sudan where his next work is set – specifically, South Sudan, which officially became an independent state in 2011 (although there’s a long history, going back to the 1950s, and the first Sudanese Civil War, between the northern part of Sudan and the southern, which lead to the formation of the Southern Sudan Autonomous Region in 1972).
Shuler’s upcoming feature documentary titled South Sudan Emerging, is a documentary that follows the beginnings of the newest African nation, as seen through the lives of 3 friends in Southern Sudan, who grew up during the 20+ years of Civil war with the North, fled to refugee camps in other countries, and are now back, working to rebuild their country and lives, as their dreams of an independent nation are finally realized.
The film, which is already a year in the making, will follow these 3 friends over the next 2 years, as South Sudan comes into its own.
Brief bios on the 3 friends:
James joined the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army at the age of 14 and fought for several years. He now lives in Kampala, Uganda where he works odd jobs and is applying to get into a University. He says he wants to move back to Juba, Sudan after things become official in July. But will the opportunities of a big city like Kampala keep him away?
Kuol was conscripted by the SPLA at the age of 12, taken away from his family to train for war. When his training camp was attacked he fled to Ethiopia with the other boys in his battalion. Kuol would later walk from the Ethiopian border through South Sudan to Kenya to find safety along with 15,000 other refugees. He’s now a land mine clearing tech and is going to University part time.
KongKong was dropped off at the Kenya/Sudan boarder by his parents when he was 10 years old to be taken in as a refugee by the United Nations. He grew up in a boys’ refugee camp in Nairobi, finishing his education at Nairobi University with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He’s decided to leave opportunities in Nairobi to help start a new economy in Juba.
Watch the promo below for what’s to come: