Islamic-Christian solidarity present at the Oscars


Filming took place in Kenya (Photo: ACN/AED)A film nominated in the “Short film (live action) category” at the 2018 Academy Awards (Watu Wote – All of us) received financial support from the international organization Aid to the Church in Need.

The film is inspired by the true story of Kenyan Christians who, in 2015, were saved because Muslim passengers on the same bus refused to disclose who the Christians were among them when they were attacked by terrorists from the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Shabaab group, this group's modus operandi being to separate people and kill non-Muslims.

"Tobias Rosen came to see us because he needed to finance his film, but also because we have an expertise built over many years regarding the situation of Christians persecuted for their faith," explained Marie-Claude Lalonde, Director of the Aid to the Church in Need Canada office. Mr. Rosen is the movie producer.

He was already familiar with and appreciated the work of ACN. "I was looking for a suitable partner for this topic, because I wanted to produce an impressive, but more than anything an authentic, film," Rosen explained. "ACN did a great deal to support me and was a real blessing for this film. This project, during the course of which so much happened and during which we had to struggle against so many difficulties, would not have gotten far without its help."

The film is based on a brief article, at the origin of this incredible story written by Julia Drache, that shows how solidarity between people and the actions of each individual can change the course of history," explained Mr. Rosen. 

"We are thrilled for the makers of this movie, graduates of the Hamburg Media School cinema program, especially since it's a graduation project. We are really happy and even proud to have been able to make this achievement possible!" says Marie-Claude Lalonde. "This also shows that an organization such as ours is particularly relevant in today's world," she explains. "Christians have always been the target of violence, but maybe today, more than ever."

A story of our times

For the sake of authenticity, the film - produced in 2016 - benefited from an almost entirely Kenyan cast and production team. Watu Wote - All of us has already received more than sixty awards worldwide, including the Gold Student Academy Award, the Oscar for film students.  

It also received the Best African Film Award at the Zanzibar Film Festival and Durban, South Africa. "This made me especially happy because it is a sign of recognition by the African continent of the authenticity we were trying to achieve. For us, this story is one that, in the universality and timeliness of its statement, can scarcely be more fitting for the times we live in," Rosen said. "For us, this story is one that, in the universality and timeliness of its statement, can scarcely be more fitting for the times we live in," said the producer. The Oscars will take place on March 4th.

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