Film To Shed Light On ‘Invisible Children’


ST. LOUIS – The plight of Ugandan children fleeing their homes nightly in order to escape abduction into rebel armies will be the subject of discussion on Wednesday, April 11, when Maryville University screens the documentary “Invisible Children.”

Sponsored by the University’s resident assistants, the event is part of a nationwide tour by representatives of Invisible Children Inc., a non-profit organization created by the film makers to aid the afflicted children of Uganda. The screening, which the film makers will attend, will take place at 6 p.m. in the University Auditorium, and is free and open to the public. A discussion will follow the screening.

Filmed in northern Uganda in 2003 by three college students from San Diego, Ca., the film takes a harrowing look at the daily conditions resulting from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency, particularly its effect on children. The film depicts LRA rebels abducting young children from their homes and inducting them into their rebel army. Consequently, the children have taken to fleeing their homes at night and seeking shelter en masse in various places inaccessible to the rebels.

“Invisible Children” first came to Maryville University’s campus in 2006, when resident assistants Patrick Martchink and Jennifer Richardson organized a screening to raise awareness about the issue. The success of the event prompted senior Sara Hotze, of Teutopolis, Ill., also a resident assistant, to consider bringing the film back to campus, particularly since she had a personal link to its subject – her aunt is a missionary in Africa. When she contacted Invisible Children Inc., the organization offered to make Maryville one of its tour stops this spring. Film-related items will be sold and donations will be accepted at the event.

Hotze collaborated with fellow RAs, junior Matt Harrer of St. Peters and fourth-year PT student Bri Davis of Overland Park, Ks., to bring the event to campus. They hope to raise awareness about the issue, which is unfamiliar to most students. “I see this as a great educational tool for our campus,” said Davis, who first learned of the documentary when it was screened last year. “It’s hard for us college students, so absorbed in our work, to know what’s going on,” she said. Davis also emphasized that viewers can not only learn about, but also help the cause of, Ugandan children. “It’s important not only because we’re being educated, but because we can also make a difference. It’s a tangible way for us to help.”

Maryville University, founded in 1872, is a private, coeducational institution offering approximately 50 undergraduate, seven master’s and two doctoral degree programs to 3,300 students. Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges in the Midwest, Maryville University prepares its students for successful and meaningful careers by offering programs that integrate liberal arts with professional studies.

Among Maryville’s most recent graduates, 94 percent are employed or attending graduate school. Approximately 15,000 alumni work and live in the St. Louis region.