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Children at Berlinale - Documentaries Bring Music and Politics to Kids
by Shelly Schoeneshoefer

For the first time there were two documentaries in the Generation 14 program. One was Love Peace and Beatbox by Volker Meyer-Dabisch about a central figure in this music scene who died in a knifing incident. The other film was War Child, a documentary directed by Christian Karim Chrobog. The film took a close look at the life of Emmenuel Jal , currently a famous African hip hop singer in England. It starts with Jal`s childhood in Southern Sudan. In the 1980s civil war broke out and children were used as soldiers for the SPLA army to fight at the front. This film goes into intimate detail about what Jal had to do in order to survive this ordeal. Then, as a famous hip hop star he returned to his homeland to confront his past by revisiting the different sites and his estranged family members. It was a very moving film and it was clear that Jal still has a lot of pain in dealing with his memories but has found a great creative outlet to vocalize his feelings. At the end of War Child, Emmenuel Jal blessed us with his political hip hop songs. One song was dedicated to Emma McCune, a British aid worker who rescued Jal, taking him to Kenya and enrolling him in school which drastically changed his life. He currently works in London and is one of the founders of an organization called Gua Africa. They have been awarded a plot of land in the Southern Sudan by the government where they would like to build a school and therefore need funding. For information on this project look at the website