Double-Bill Screening: Women and War

Screening Sunday 24th June, 2007

These two documentaries set in Liberia and Columbia look at how war affects women when they are widowed or displaced by conflict. Though men are often the primary casualties of war’s violence, away from the front lines women’s lives are also dramatically affected.. In 2006 filmmaker Tara Sutton was commissioned by Insight TV news, Al Jazeera’s Witness  and the International Committee of the Red Cross to make a series of films examining how women’s lives are affected by war. The Frontline Club will show two of those films from Liberia and Colombia.

Liberia  — Welcome to Gorlu Town

Fourteen years of civil war meant that the town of Gorlu, in Lofa county Liberia had been deserted and destroyed. But to the people of Gorlu scattered in refugee camps around the region, it was not forgotten. With the arrival of peace, it is time for the people of Gorlu to go home. First though, they have to rebuild it. Spending a week in the tiny town of Gorlu, we meet a cast of very determined characters who are rebuilding their town brick by hand-made brick. With so many dead from the war they are also rebuilding their families, boy soldiers from opposite sides now find themselves sleeping under the same roof, widows are left to take care of their grandchildren. Touching, tragic and comic this film is a testament to the true meaning of “home.”

Colombia — Land of Fear

Though it doesn’t receive the attention of other mass displacements, Colombia is home to the third largest displaced population on the world. According to estimates up to three million people have been forced out of their homes during the four decades of Colombia’s guerilla war. The displaced population is mostly rural villagers, caught in the middle of the conflict. Many are women who have seen their husbands killed by one side or the other and often their children taken to become fighters. They flee in the night and they flee alone. They come to the large cities, such as Bogota where they hope to disappear. With no marketable skills and no support system these women live on the margins of this bustling city, hiding in plane sight. How do you find people that don’t want to be found? In Bogota Colombia, Tara Sutton tracks down these hidden women and documents their stories.