By Audrey Forgeron
November 14, 2017-- What does it take to be a film director? What would you sacrifice for your art? What kind of story would you tell?
Students in IB Film had a fabulous opportunity to meet and interact with a film director this past Wednesday.
Mr. Newton Aduaka has directed two feature films, Rage (1999) and Ezra (2007). This Nigerian-born filmmaker told us about the excitement of being in film school and then the anticlimax of being out in the "real world," living hand-to-mouth and having to drum up funding for his project ideas. At one point, he sold his house and his car in order to raise funds for the short film On the Edge (1998) that won Best Short Film in the Ouagadougou Panafrican Film and Television Festival in 1999 and effectively launched his career.
So, what is it like preparing to make a movie about an important real-life issue?
Take a moment and imagine that you are 7 years old and at school. Suddenly, soldiers come with guns and kidnap you and your friends and take you to a camp. At the camp, you learn to fight and kill people. You do this for years. Eventually, your nightmare ends and you are integrated back into society, but you are still broken from the unspeakable experience you have endured.
Mr. Aduaka spoke about following his passion and writing and directing his most successful film, Ezra. It's about child soldiers in Sierra Leone who went through exactly the experience imagined above. He described what it was like to interview former child soldiers about their experiences. He spoke about the pain and suffering he saw in their eyes and about how several of them, during the interview, ended up curled up on the floor, crying out in anguish as they relived the horrors in their memories. He informed us that many former child soldiers commit suicide because they are unable to exonerate themselves from their past actions, even though they had little choice in the matter at the time.
Comments from students following the discussion:
"I felt so moved by what he told us."
"He made me think about how to live my life."
Newton is a gentle, generous and humble soul who touched the Film students' hearts with his moving accounts of his adventures in filmmaking. I can't think of a better ambassador for the profession!