Institute History

  • 2007 Sundance Film Festival


The journey to understanding the truth during wartime often involves an intense passage through a stinging psychic landscape of secrets, lies, greed, and manipulation. Newton Aduaka's emotionally powerful feature Ezra is a well-crafted tale about a Sierra Leonean boy and his community as they attempt to heal themselves through exposing and embracing the truth.

One fateful morning, seven-year-old Ezra skips his way to school and is kidnapped by rebels. They take him into the jungle and train him to be a soldier. Seven years later, Ezra sits in front of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where he is asked to piece together a jigsaw puzzle of facts from the night of a devastating attack on a village. What is supposed to be a confession soon becomes a trial as his mute sister, Onitcha, chooses to reveal a secret she has kept from her brother.

Aduaka creates a deftly observed world and draws impressive performances from his young cast to bring audiences into close contact with the life and mindset of a child combatant. With an estimated 300,000 child soldiers worldwide serving in armed conflict today, Ezra is an important and timely story that rarely gets depicted on the screen.

— Shari Frilot

Screening Details

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