|Further information and the full story can be accessed on the official Invisible Children Web site at www.invisiblechildren.com.|
In the summer of 2003, Jason Russell, Bobby Bailey and Lauren Poole left California on a filmmaking adventure to Africa and found themselves stranded in northern Uganda in the midst of a civil war.
The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is a rebel group that kidnaps children from their homes at night, desensitizes them to violence and brainwashes them to fight for the LRA in opposition of the Ugandan government.
While some children escape from the hands of the LRA, many cannot escape the constant fear of being captured again and possibly killed. The ones who don't attempt to run grow up knowing nothing but life hiding "in the bush" and fighting with the LRA's guerilla warfare.
To escape from nighttime abduction, boys as young as 8 years old walk great distances from their villages to nearby towns and sleep in cold and crowded public buildings until morning when they travel back. "Night Commuters" is what the people of Gulu, Uganda call them.
The footage captured during the filmmakers' time in Africa focused on four of these "Night Commuters:" Jacob, Thomas, Tony and Boni, who for all their lives feared this ongoing war.
The film, called "Invisible Children: Rough Cut," is dedicated to exposing their story in honor of the children who have remained hidden for more than 20 years.
After the film's first showing in June 2004, screenings have taken place across the nation. The first Fort Collins screening will be tonight in the Lory Student Center Theatre at 7 p.m.
Amy Collins, graduate of Bailer University, is part of the nationally traveling team spreading the message of Invisible Children.
"We are just trying to raise awareness. People are so influenced by the media and things like this," Collins said.
Joyce Acen, graduate student studying ecology, experienced firsthand many of the events depicted in the film. She came to America six years ago from Gulu.
"('Invisible Children') is very accurate," Acen said. "It leaves out a lot of stuff. There is much more."
Acen's family was greatly affected by this situation.
"Some of my family members were hacked to death by the rebels. The government was responsible for moving people into camps, called internally displaced camps. People were still not safe from the rebels," she said.
Evie Groseth, one of the film's promoters at CSU, believes it is beneficial for all to see.
"The guys who went were college-aged but by no means does that seclude other age groups," said Groseth, a senior health and exercise science major. "I had a vague idea of what was going on in Uganda but 'Invisible Children' opened my eyes to what is really going on."
People of all ages are called to assist in this movement. Invisible Children, Inc. is asking for donations and volunteers to spread the word and go to Uganda to serve the people.
"America is naive. We just don't know," Collins said. "This is not something that has already passed. It's happening now and people have the opportunity to help right now."
Emily Lance can be reach at email@example.com.