The Stories We Need to Tell
The horrors are too terrible, the stories too gruesome for many, but still books like “A Long Way Gone: Memoires of a Child Soldier” and “Beasts of No Nation” are beginning to raise awareness of the 200,000 or more children forced to fight around the globe. Many Americans think the issue of children fighting in wars is as an African issue. Those aware of the problem may know child soldiers are found in Asia too, but few realize the Balkans also have a history of using child soldiers in armed conflict.
As yet, no major box office movie has focused on child soldiers, although to be fair, “Blood Diamonds” did include include a minor child soldier character. “Beasts of No Nation” did well at Sundance, but did not hit local movie theaters in the US. New recognition of the horrors children as soldiers face may come with the release of Uma Thurman’s new film, to be released in 2010, regarding girl child soldiers in Uganda.
Jean-Stephane Sauvaire, Director of “Beasts of No Nation” states in an interview on the Filmlot site, that “No one wants to show this reality because it’s brutal; it’s quite difficult to watch.” He states in the interview he wanted to “tell stories you’ve never seen before – to tell stories that we don’t want to see.”
I understand Sauvaire’s desire: that same fascination to explore characters from such backgrounds drove me to write “Virgin Soldier.”