The film I have been working on since I first visited Darfur in March 2005, The Devil Came on Horseback, has its New York Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival today.
This should be cause for celebration, but how can we celebrate when the genocide it chronicles still rages? And what?
The talented creative team, including directors Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg, has been working until the 11th hour to make sure the film concludes with accurate information. When we "finished" the film for Sundance in January we stated in the end credits "there have been 9 resolutions passed at the United Nations regarding Darfur". This week we had to update that to 17. Additionally we had to increase the numbers of dead and displaced and add an urgent call for action.
Why? Because we have still not reached the tipping point where nations feel they must act to end this genocide. It is only individuals who seem to care. Perhaps this weekend we will get there. This could be a test of the power of the media. Consider a few serendipities:
- The Devil Came on Horseback has 4 public screenings at Tribeca, Mia Farrow and Nicholas Kristof, two champions of the people of Darfur will be at our Q and A tomorrow night.
- President Kagame of Rwanda is in New York to celebrate the work of 3 young Rwandan film-makers and made a strong statement about Darfur yesterday.
- Don Cheadle is in New York and has been speaking out about Darfur as he promotes his new book, co-authored with John Prendergast, called Not on Our Watch.
- Angelina Jolie, a UNHCR Ambassador, is in New York to promote her new film.
- The Aegis Trust for The Prevention of Genocide has a powerful and controversial exhibition "Lessons From Rwanda" standing in the foyer of the United Nations.
- Brian Steidle and Gretchen Wallace's book The Devil Came on Horseback is published and available from bookstores and Amazon.
Hopefully more people will notice and something will change. It is up to all of us. Fingers crossed. Over 2.5 million displaced Darfurians are counting on anyone to help them -- even us.