Project 16:9 features films with a destination, whether it be an awareness driven documentary or a question-raising narrative. Right or wrong, these films have a destination clearly in mind.

Let’s make Joseph Kony famous!

I saw it first here: Derek Webb re-tweeting Jason Bateman. Within minutes, Facebook was ablaze with Kony fever. At 93-million views on YouTube and Vimeo as of this writing, filmmakers and advocates Invisible Children seem well on their way to making Joseph Kony the most talked about man on the planet.

For those of you that haven’t seen it, it’s a documentary that draws attention to the plight of children in Uganda who have fallen victim to brutal African war-criminal Joseph Kony. Invisible Children make short documentary films like Kony 2012, and travel the world screening them for free, as well as selling ‘awareness products.’

I’ve loosely followed Invisible Children since 2002 when I saw the preview of one of their earlier films at a Visible Music College concert. It was the first I’d ever heard of children being kidnapped and conscripted into killing. I remember an unsettling, sweeping shot of children huddled together in a warehouse, seeking safety from the abductors.

That stuck with me. It changed my attitude. Ten years later, here I am, a filmmaker seeking to use my craft to effect positive change in the world around me.

Kony Kontroversy.

Kony 2012 is not without controversy, however. Almost instantly the usual detractors came out of the woodworks. Among their complaints was Invisible Children’s integrity as a non-profit, a purported call for military action in Africa, and the oversimplification of a rather complex issue.

I’m not going to pretend I know something here, because I don’t. All I can say is go research for yourself. There’s a wealth of information in the following links, including Invisible Children’s response to recent criticism:

Invisible Children’s Response

RELEVANT Magazine: Is Kony 2012 Good or Bad

It’s up to you to be informed.

I think it’s a little premature to label concern and awareness as ignorance. How many of us, if we’re honest, will admit we’re having a bad day when the free Wi-Fi at Starbucks isn’t working? That’s been me more often than I care to admit, and that’s the real ignorance, not the bending of a nation towards compassion.

As I said above, Invisible Children have influenced me as a filmmaker in a good way; I’m inspired to make my own ‘films with a destination.’ For better or worse, Kony 2012 is now part of the zeitgeist. But so too are the atrocities of unseen war criminals and the sufferings of countless children.

Watch Kony 2012 here:

UPDATE: Our response to Jason Russell’s arrest and why you should still support Kony 2012.

Questions: What do you make of Kony 2012 and Invisible Children? What practical thing are you doing to end injustice in the world?

Dan Baker

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Dan works out his social anxieties by producing and directing films. He's a proud New Mexican, and prefers green over red.

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