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Oscar nominated film illuminates child soldier issue
January 30, 2014

Oscar nominated film illuminates child soldier issue
The film poster.

(Washington, D.C.) January 30, 2014 — The live action short film Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn't Me), written and directed by Esteban Crespo, highlights the harshness of the lives of child soldiers. The film has been nominated for an Academy Award and will be in theaters and and is now in theaters. It will be available on iTunes, Amazon and other On Demand outlets February 25.

According to UN estimates, more than 250,000 minors were being used as child soldiers in 2007, in countries such as Afghanistan, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Israel, Uganda and Somalia.

Despite distinct campaigns undertaken against the use of child soldiers, official armies and rebel groups continue recruiting minors into their ranks, both voluntarily and involuntarily, forcing them to undertake dangerous tasks that violate their fundamental human rights to housing, health, education, and recreation while causing momentous traumas in their emotional, psychological and interpersonal development.

As a former child soldier of the Sierra Leone armed conflict said: “Being a soldier is not that difficult: either you get used to it or they kill you. The most difficult thing is to get used to living with your own memories and to being yourself again after doing the things you have done."

Two characters in the film — a Spanish woman and an African child who should have nothing in common — find their lives are forever to be joined through a life-giving shot.

KANEY (Juan Tojaka)  is an African child soldier who lives with many other child soldiers and obeys the orders given by the man who has become like their father, the GENERAL of the Rebel Army (Babou Cham). PAULA (Alejandra Lorente) is a Spanish aid worker who moved to Africa following her boyfriend, JUANJO (Gustavo Salmerón), in order to aid the child soldiers who live there.

In a border crossing point, PAULA and KANEY meet each other and their dramatic story begins, full of fear, violence and redemption.

The short film was released in early 2012 and it was the central focus of an event organized by Spanish NGOs Fundación El Compromiso, Amnesty International, Save the Children, Entreculturas, ONG DYEs, and Alboán to celebrate the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers (12th February). Alboán and Entreculturas are long time partners in various projects with Jesuit Refugee Service.

The trailer with subtitles can be seen here.

The OSCAR® Nominated Short Films program opens in more than 350 theaters throughout the U.S. and Canada starting tomorrow, January 31, and will continue to expand in the coming weeks. In Washington, D.C. the film will be screened at E Street Cinema. To find screenings in other cities, please click here

Along with the theatrical run, the nominated short films will be available on iTunes® Stores in 54 countries, Amazon Instant Video® and VOD/Pay Per View platforms across the U.S.

The film has already been awarded the Goya for the Best Live Action Short-Film by the Spanish Film Academy in 2013 and has so far received more than 90 national and international awards.

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