In April 2003, two weeks before the Iraq war started, two weeks before I traveled to Sudan to document the holocaust, I sold a movie musical to Steven Spielberg. That was always my plan: to make Hollywood musicals.
I had just finished my film degree at USC and I wanted that post-graduation globetrotting adventure. I figured instead of backpacking Europe, I'd visit an African genocide. With two friends, my camera (purchased from eBay) and a few hundred bucks in cash, I went to tell a story that mattered. And it changed my life forever.
We had never seen anything like it. So many bodies sleeping on top of each other. They were called night commuters. These children left their homes and walked to urban areas in search of safety from abductions by a rebel group. We couldn't believe we were witnessing something so horrific, and yet unheard of by most. These children were victims of a war that was older than them.
We returned to the states with a clear objective- tell their story. We couldn't forget the faces and names of these children. So we made a documentary called, "Invisible Children: Rough Cut" that exposes the tragic realities of the night commuters and child soldiers. The film was originally shown to friends and family, but has since been seen by millions of people. We started a non-profit called Invisible Children, Inc., giving compassionate individuals an effective way to respond to the situation. We challenged people's apathy and watched it turn into action. The movement began to ripple throughout the nation- we knew we were on to something.
During the past two decades, LRA leader Joseph Kony has abducted over 30,000 children. Under his command, the LRA have attacked, murdered and displaced thousands, while refusing several attempts at peace. In recent months, his reign of terror has spread to the bordering areas of Democratic Republic of Congo, southern Sudan and Central African Republic. Joseph Kony is the first individual to be indicted by the International Criminal Court for his crimes against humanity.
It's frightening that this war has now grown into an international crisis. We need to respond with an international body of activists to increase the visibility of this conflict and end Joseph Kony's reign of terror.
So we are responding with our most ambitious and controversial event to date. THE RESCUE is a worldwide rally on April 25th in 100 cities across 10 countries. Participants will 'abduct themselves' on behalf of abducted child soldiers. Each city will be 'rescued' by a prominent political or cultural figure who attends the event and makes a statement on behalf of the child soldiers. Confirmed rescuers include Pete Wentz, Kirsten Dunst, Kristen Bell, Switchfoot, and Paramore among others. Together we are demanding that our world leaders make this conflict a visible priority and put an end to the longest-running war in Africa.
I never thought that I would be wrapped up in such an extraordinary story; it's almost like being in a Hollywood musical.