“The Testimony,” the third documentary short I have seen of the 10 shortlisted titles in the running for the Oscar® nomination, is a 12 minute short produced by Atria Film in
association with Escape Artists, RYOT Films and Vulcan Productions. Directed by first time filmmaker Vanessa Block, the film is a beautifully shot, almost
impressionistic but surprisingly complete account by the women victims of rape during the Congo internal conflicts.
The conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has cost more lives than any other since World War II. In November 2012, the M23 rebels drove the
Congolese Army out of the Eastern city of Goma. Shamed and demoralized, government soldiers retreated to Minova, where they systematically raped hundreds
of their own civilians. The atrocity drew international outrage, the global community promising intervention. “The Testimony” chronicles
the largest rape trial in Congo’s history, offering an unprecedented glimpse into the lives of its women and the unshakable strength of the human spirit.
Women speak about how they are shunned by husbands, fathers and families and are left with children to raise who then are put to work farming and unable to
be educated. Women are used as weapons of war. Activists, women themselves, are threatened for their actions bringing women together, speaking up for
themselves. When 39 soldiers for the Republic were brought to a trial (with one woman judge and a slew of males) women dared to speak of the atrocities
committed against them, but hid under veils so as not to be punished later. Only two soldiers were convicted, but it was a start, although rape still goes
on with impunity. Vanessa Block gives an upside, showing the farming collective of women, the schools for women and a spokesman for women who says that to
educate a woman is to educate a nation.
Vanessa Block has done a brave thing to go to the Congo to film these brave women.
Web site: https://www.thetestimonyfilm.com/
The 88th Oscars® will be held on Sunday, February 28, 2016, at the Dolby
Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be
live by the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. The Oscar
presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and