Monday, August 10, 2009

Micah Film Festival

by Corbyn Small
Last Friday I had the pleasure of representing Plant With Purpose at one of the best events I have been to in a long time, the Micah Film Festival at the Crest Theater in Oceanside. Organized by friends of Plant With Purpose, the festival was a three day event that screened three different powerful documentaries that were truly thought provoking and inspiring. 40% of the ticket sales were redistributed by attendees to non-profit organizations like ours, and Plant With Purpose was able to share its Trees Please video with the audience as a "movie preview" before the screening on Friday.
I wanted to share a quick synopsis and some of my thoughts on the documentary "As We Forgive." This film dug deep into the history leading up to the mass genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994 when one in eight Rwandans were murdered for no other reason than prejudice and brainwashing. But this documentary didn't give the history in the traditional report form, instead it came from testimonies of survivors translated across the bottom of the screen, which for me put a face to a tragedy that I had heard so many bits and pieces of information about but never stopped to think about perspectives from both sides.
The main focus of the movie was reconciliation and mercy. From what I did know about the actual genocide, I have never known what has happened in Rwanda since then. From this film, I learned that due to governmental incapabilities to prosecute the 40,000 Hutu perpetrators that confessed to their crimes against their own neighbors, the government released them all to become neighbors once again with those whose family members they had slain. There has been incredible rebuilding since 1994, but the reconciliation between the Hutu and the Tutsi's was primarily left to non-profit organizations and churches. The film explores the lives of individuals who were on both sides of the conflict, a man who committed an inconceivable act against a woman's husband, and the woman who lost her husband to the neighbor that once had shared meals with them both. How could anyone expect the woman to forgive a man for such acts, let alone an entire nation of Tutsis.
Someone mentioned after the film was over that this genocide took place at the same time as the OJ Simpson trials. Even though I was only nine when both happened, I am saddened that I remember watching OJ for hours and did not find out about the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent people until many years after the fact. I want to invite you to see this documentary and consider, as I have, the true definition of forgiveness and mercy. See the preview below and then click here to visit their site.
Thank you to everyone who helped put the Micah Film Festival on and make it such a huge success and for opening my eyes to mercy as I have never seen it before.

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