A NEW BEGINNING : feature length documentary
An epic story of wartorn childhoods, redemption and renewal, shattered hopes and perseverance. In 1989, a childhood friendship is filmed by journalist Patrice Barrat in a Sudanese refugee camp by day, whilst the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) train the children for brutal militia activity at night. In 1991 the camp is bombed, the children thought dead. 23 years later, these 3 extraordinary lives inexplicably reconnect as they work towards peace and reconciliation within their own lives and for the future of South Sudan.
This story focuses on the life of David Nyuol Vincent, his rebuilding of his life as a community leader in Australia, and subsequent efforts to help restore peace to South Sudan. As this is being written, violence has erupted anew partly due to the Nuer followers of Dr Reik Machar, adoptive father of David’s childhood companion; the now renown rap artist, Emmanuel Jal. In a further twist of irony, David had been working recently with Dr Reik for reconcilliation in South Sudan and to restore peace. As the potential for renewed civil war in South Sudan looms large, David’s continuing story with Patrice, Emmanuel and Dr Reik examines the potential and impact of personal choice amongst the forces of politics and policy in both warring and peaceful nations.
Photo by: Patrice Barrat from his film ‘Famine Fatigue’
‘A New Beginning’ has been accepted by the Documentary Australia Foundation as a film with social capital thereby giving it DGR status. Any donation towards this film through the DAF website (at the above link) is a 100% tax deduction.
I am a Peace Soldier was co-founded by David Vincent and Sarah Lewis. The initiative was formed with support from RMIT University in Melbourne and was launched in 2014 by Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision, Australia. It aims to promote peace through art, music and the written word.
Working at building peace at a grassroots level in communities in South Sudan and the worldwide diaspora, this program strives to change attitudes, away from violence towards peaceful resolution. Young people are encouraged to become ‘peace soldiers’ on the ground and inspire people to be part of one nation – regardless of their tribal allegiance.
Living in Australia in the early 2000’s, I was increasingly appalled by the anti- immigration rhetoric spouted by our federal politicians. Government officials labelling asylum seekers as ‘illegals’ is factually incorrect as Australia is signed up to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Article 14 (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
Inaccurate public pronouncements also acted as a ‘dog whistle’ and gave license to expressions of subtle and not-so-subtle racism in Australian communities.
Feeling frustrated and disempowered, I wanted to do something to indicate that these policies did not represent my ideology as an Australian citizen. I also felt motivated to reach out and connect personally with people who had come to Australia as refugees or asylum seekers.
I volunteered to teach a sewing class at the Fitzroy Learning Network in Melbourne, an organisation that does invaluable work with new arrivals in Victoria. It was a small step but life changing for me.
Through a series of connections related to the FLN, I met David Nyuol Vincent, a South Sudanese refugee who had been resettled in Australia in 2005.
In 2010 our friendship and filmmaking collaboration began.
-Sarah Lewis Director/Producer
In 2012, David’s story was published to much acclaim by Allen and Unwin, Australia. Written by Carol Nader and David Nyuol Vincent.
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