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SEMAINE DE LA CRITIQUE

Ezra, a young former Sierra Leonean fighter, is struggling to find his bearings and return to normal life after the civil war that laid waste to his country. His everyday life is divided between a psychological rehabilitation centre and a national reconciliation tribunal organized under the auspices of the UN. During the rehabilitation trial in which Ezra takes part, he has to face his sister who is accusing him of the murder of their parents. Ezra, who got through that violent civil war on drugs and alcohol, can’t remember a thing. Will Ezra admit to the horror and thus allow his sister and his village community to forgive ?

.K. filmmaker Newton I. Aduaka's "Ezra" is described by Sundance as a "deftly observed world [that] draws impressive performances from [a] young cast to bring audiences into close contact with the life and mindset of a child combatant." Inspired by his own war-torn upbringing, Aduaka's film is the story of seven year-old Ezra, who is kidnapped by rebels while en route to school. After taking him into the jungle and training him as a soldier, he finds himself seven years later sitting in front of a "Truth and Reconciliation Commission," which asks him to piece together a maze of facts surrounding the night of a devastating attack on a village. What is presented as a confession turns into a trial as his mute sister chooses to reveal a secret kept from her brother. Aduaka has been honored in Africa with a Best First Work prize for his previous film, "Rage" at the Ouagadougou Panafrican Film and Television Festival in 2001 as well as a best short film nod at the same event for "On the Edge" in 1999. "Ezra" will screen in the World Cinema Competition: Dramatic at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival.

Newton Aduaka C. 104 has won the top prize at FESPACO - the Pan-African Film Festival with his second feature "EZRA". "Ezra" tells of the experiences of one child soldier in an unnamed African conflict of the 1990s and is unwavering in its depiction of the brutality and perversions of war in Africa. Newton says "I don't shy away from violence. That's dishonest". "EZRA" will be screened in London later this year.

Newton Ifeanyi Aduaka

INTRODUCTION

My name is Newton Ifeanyi Aduaka or Newton. I was born in a little town in eastern Nigeria called Ogidi on the eve of the Biafran War. After the war ended, my parents decided to move to Lagos, the Nigerian capital. They had lost all in a devastating war that saw the death of over a million people. After a series of coup d'etats which saw one military dictator after another and the collapse of the social and education system, at eighteen, I left Nigeria and moved to London to pursue a study in engineering. By chance, I discovered cinema, became obsessed, went to the London Film School and have been or tried to be a filmmaker ever since.

about "Ezra" how the initial idea come about?

The primal idea to make a film on "child soldiers" was not mine. I was approached by Arnaud Louvet at Arte, the French TV broadcasters, [who] asked if I was interested in the subject. I had finished my first feature, "Rage," a fiction film dealing with teenagers, hip hop and multiculturalism, which Arte had acquired and screened. I of course was developing other projects but they told me they wanted to move quickly. It ended up taking nearly three years, writing, researching, shooting and post. This was a project ready to go, with people I'd hoped to work with for years. Arte had worked with a roster of highly independent filmmakers I had a lot of respect for and admired. It was an honor.


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