UNA-NY Screening the Issues
Panel Discussion

The Good Lie:
The Lost Boys of Sudan on Film



Please join us for this exclusive NY screening followed by
a Panel Discussion with

MARGARET NAGLE
Award-winning screenwriter

GER DUANY
Actor and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

ANDREW REYNOLDS
Associate Professor
University of North Carolina

PHILLIPPE FALARDEAU
Film Director


 

Friday |  September 18, 2015

6:00 - 6:30 p.m. |  Registration
6:30 - 8:30 p.m. |  Film Screening
8:30 - 9:00 p.m. |  Panel Discussion and Q+A
9:00 - 9:30 p.m. |  Reception

Screening begins promptly at 6:30 p.m.


Dolby 88 Screening Room
1350 Avenue of the Americas (at West 55th Street)
Lobby Level
New York, NY 10019

 


They were known simply as "The Lost Boys." As nomadic victims of the brutal civil war in Sudan that began in 1983, many young orphans traveled as far as a thousand miles on foot in search of safety. Fifteen years later, a humanitarian effort would bring 3600 lost boys and girls to America.

In THE GOOD LIE, Oscar-nominated director Philippe Falardeau brings the story of their survival and triumph to life. The film premiered at 2014 Toronto Film Festival where it received the longest standing ovation in the history of the festival. Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon stars alongside Sudanese actors Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal, and newcomer Nyakuoth Weil, many of whom were also children of war.

In the film, we meet Mamere and Theo, sons of the Chief in their village in Southern Sudan. When an attack by the Northern militia destroys their home and kills their parents, eldest son Theo is forced to assume the role of Chief and lead a group of young survivors, including his sister Abital, away from harm. But the hostile, treacherous terrain has other dangers in store for them. 

As the tattered group makes the difficult trek to Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, they meet other fleeing children, and forge a bond with Jeremiah, who at 13 is already a man of faith, and Paul, whose skills become essential to their survival. 

Thirteen years later, and now young adults, the orphans are given the opportunity to leave the camp and resettle in America. Upon arriving in Kansas, they are met by Carrie Davis (Witherspoon), an employment agency counselor who has been enlisted to help find them jobs—no easy task, when things like straws, light switches and telephones are brand new to them.

Although Carrie has kept herself from emotional entanglements, these refugees, who desperately require help navigating the 20th century and rebuilding their shattered lives, need just that. So Carrie embarks on her own unchartered territory, enlisting the help of her boss. Together, against the backdrop of their shared losses, the Lost Boys and these unlikely strangers find humor in the clash of cultures, and heartbreak as well as hope in the challenges of life in America.

MEET GER DUANY IN PERSON!

Please join us for this exclusive screening of THE GOOD LIE, which will be followed by a panel and Q+A with three great guests: MARGARET NAGLE, the film's screenwriter, GER DUANY, one of the stars and currently a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, and ANDREW REYNOLDS, Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina.


FROM THE REVIEWS

"The people from Sudan—actors and musicians whose courage and humanity uplift the soul—are all wonderful. And Reese Witherspoon's presence is very much felt, although she never upstages the others, giving them space to develop their characters and often command the center ring. The result is a feeling of commitment to a vital project that commands attention and pays off in heart and soul." The Observer

"This drama about the lost boys (and girls) of Sudan is earnest to a fault, but you won't leave unmoved. Its heart really is in the right place." Rolling Stone

"Powerful stuff, with affecting cinematography to emphasize both the vulnerability and resilience of these orphans." The Guardian

"It's the great strength of "The Good Lie" — which has been directed with sensitivity and simplicity by Philippe Falardeau ("Monsieur Lazhar") from a script by Margaret Nagle — that it's told from the point of view of Mamere and his compatriots… the tone of the movie may be gentle, but it's never pandering or simplistic… In a bait-and-switch worthy of its title, "The Good Lie" may lure in viewers eager to see a Reese Witherspoon movie, but they'll fall in love with something else entirely." Washington Post

"Canadian director Falardeau, working from Margaret Lagle's script, finds a lot of compassion and irony in the employment struggles of three African boys with limited English and no idea of Western capitalist priorities." The Telegraph UK

"A touching, generous-hearted movie that treats the immigrant experience with grace… what's particularly laudable is the way it puts the African characters' experiences front and center throughout in a way few mainstream pictures do when engaging with African-set stories." Hollywood Reporter

"The Good Lie's progression — from infancy to adulthood, and from ethnic horror to gentle social comedy to a heroic gift of freedom — proclaims the film's respect for facts and truths that can't be squeezed into a smooth narrative… And if a moviegoer can't cry for the great tragedy of these Sudanese children, and be touched by their small victories, then who on earth deserves our tears and cheers?" Time

"While The Good Lie certainly doesn't shy away from scenes designed to make us shake our heads at man's inhumanity to man and scenes designed to make us dab at our eyes, it's the kind of movie that earns those moments." Chicago Sun-Times

"A heart-tugger that's definitely worth seeing." New York Post


PANEL GUESTS

MARGARET NAGLE

Margaret Nagle is a screenwriter and television producer. She has been nominated for two Emmy Awards and won two Writers Guild of America Awards. Her first script, HBO's Warm Springs received a record-breaking 16 Emmy nominations and won five Emmys in 2005, including the Award for Best Television Movie. It also won the 2006 Writers Guild of America Award for Long Form Original Screenplay. Nagle also received a 2011 Writer's Guild Award for her work on Boardwalk Empire.

Margaret Nagle spent 10 years working towards getting THE GOOD LIE made. She was hired to write the script in 2004 for Paramount studios and producer Robert F. Newmyer, but the project was constantly being upended with changes in studio brass. The subject matter was considered risky even though Nagle's script had been publicly lauded with a coveted space on the Blacklist. Then Newmyer unexpectedly died of a heart attack. Nagle promised the Lost Boys of Sudan she would do everything she could to try and get the movie out of Paramount and to a studio who would make it. In 2009-10 Nagle began working with Karen Kehela Sherwood and Ron Howard at Imagine Films and she was able to get the script back from Paramount. Financing fell out but more was found with producers Molly Smith, Thad Luckinbill and Trent Luckinbill. Molly Smith's parents had recently adopted a Lost Boy in Memphis, Tennessee.

Her outstanding work on THE GOOD LIE has been deservedly honored. She recently received the 2015 Jonathan Daniels Award (named for the slain civil rights worker who was working with Martin Luther King) from the Monadnock International Film Festival, celebrating the fusion of great artistic merit and social awareness. Nagle also received the prestigious 2015 Paul Selvin Award from the Writers Guild of America. The award is given each year to the WGA member whose script best embodies the spirit of the constitutional and civil rights and liberties that are indispensable to the survival of free writers everywhere and to which Selvin devoted his professional life.

A former actress, Nagle appeared in the cult-hit My So-Called Life as the beleaguered biology teacher Ms. Chavatal. She is named after her great aunt, the modern dance pioneer Margaret Newell H'Doubler.

Nagle, who has a brother with a brain injury from a car accident, is actively involved in furthering rights and visibility for people with disabilities. She recently received the Media Access Award from the Writers Guild of America for, through her work, "doubling the number" of people on network TV with disabilities. She has also been raising money for Humanitarian Aid for South Sudan by appearing at screenings of this evening's film, on behalf of Concern, UNICEF, RefugePoint and other organizations.


GER DUANY

On 20 June 2015, World Refugee Day, UNHCR appointed Ger Duany as Goodwill Ambassador for the East and Horn of Africa region.

Born in Akobo, Jonglei state, South Sudan 36 years ago, Ger is a self-described "village boy." He remembers vividly his early childhood as a herd boy tending his family's cattle in the ways of his forefathers. Recollections of roaming vast grassy plains  in search of pasture, and of playing in the waters of the White Nile are etched in his memory.

Ger had his first experience of war at the tender age of seven. It marked the end of his idyllic childhood. His family and community were uprooted. At age 13 war separated him from his mother, and like others he resorted to becoming a child soldier as a means of survival during South Sudan's struggle for independence. Ger later became a refugee in Ethiopia and then Kenya, and was resettled to the United States from Dadaab camp at the youthful age of 15.

In this unfamiliar environment Ger struggled. He had to learn to adapt while dealing with the demons that haunted him from life in the war zone. He persevered, went to school and developed a love for basketball. "Sports grounded me," he says. "I often felt frustrated and angry. But I realized that I could not survive that way. So I learned to quiet my fears. I learned to listen carefully and always to pay attention to very small things."

Ger went on to earn a college degree. He worked hard and built a successful career as an actor and fashion model. Most recently, he played a leading role in the American drama film, The Good Lie, which tells the story of three refugees who are resettled from Kakuma camp to the United States, and their struggles to integrate.

Like many former "Lost Boys of Sudan," as well as many refugees and former refugees throughout the world, Ger is driven by the urge to give back to the cause of forced displacement. In his role as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, he has undertaken to use his story and his influence to help spread awareness about the plight of refugees and other populations that the UN refugee agency serves.


ANDREW REYNOLDS

Andrew Reynolds received his B.A.(Hons) from the University of East Anglia, a M.A. from the University of Cape Town and his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego. His research and teaching focus on democratization, constitutional design and electoral politics. He is particularly interested in the presence and impact of minorities and marginalized communities. He has worked for the United Nations, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), the UK Department for International Development, the US State Department, the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the International Foundation for Election Systems.

He has also served as a consultant on issues of electoral and constitutional design for Afghanistan, Angola, Burma, Egypt, Fiji, Guyana, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Northern Ireland, Philippines, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. He has received research awards from the U.S. Institute of Peace, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Ford Foundation.

Among his books are: The Arab Spring: Pathways of Repression and Reform (Oxford, 2015) with Jason Brownlee and Tarek Masoud; Designing Democracy in a Dangerous World (Oxford, 2011), The Architecture of Democracy: Constitutional Design, Conflict Management, and Democracy (Oxford, 2002), Electoral Systems and Democratization in Southern Africa (Oxford, 1999), Election 99 South Africa: From Mandela to Mbeki (St. Martin's, 1999), and Elections and Conflict Management in Africa (USIP, 1998), co-edited with T. Sisk. In 2012 he embarked on a multi year research project to study the impact of LGBT national parliamentarians on public policy around the world. His forthcoming book is The Children of Harvey Milk (2016).

His articles have appeared in journals, including: American Political Science Review, World Politics, Democratization, Politics and Society, Middle East Law and Governance, Electoral Studies, Journal of Democracy, The Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, and Political Science Quarterly. He has published opinion pieces in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, and San Diego Union Tribune. His work has been translated into French, Spanish, Arabic, Serbo-Croat, Albanian, Burmese, and Portuguese.


PHILLIPPE FALARDEAU

After studying Canadian politics and international relations, Philippe Falardeau was chosen in 1993 as a contestant for the popular TV series La Course Destination Monde, which featured a contest in which the participants toured the world making short films. Shooting 20 films for this series, he ended up winning the IDRC Award.

He then collaborated on various television programs in France and Canada, as director and cameraman, and co-scripted The Fate of America (1995), a documentary directed by Jacques Godbout for National Film Board of Canada.

Two years later, he returned to the NBF to direct a medium length documentary on Chinese immigration in Canada, called Pâté Chinois (or Pie). The film was presented at the Montreal World Film Festival and won Best Screenplay Award at the Yorkton Film Festival.

In 2000, he directed his first theatrical feature film, The Left-Hand Side of the Fridge, which follows the ups and downs of relationships between two roommates. It was a big success in Canada, screened in numerous festivals worldwide, winning an award at the Toronto Film Festival and the Claude Jutra Award at the Canadian Genies.

In 2005, Falardeau's second film, Congorama premiered at the Directors' Fortnight at Cannes, and went on to win several feature film awards in Canada, delivering a major critical success.

Following his third feature, It's Not Me, I Swear! (2008), which was also awarded at the Toronto and Berlin film festivals, Falardeau's 2011 Monsieur Lazhar was a major success. This film focused on issues of education and the Canadian school system, with a special emphasis involving immigration, a subject dear to the director. The film tells the story of an Algerian who takes charge of a classroom after the suicide of the regular teacher. It was Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Film.

Having worked years ago as a cameraman on a documentary for the National Film Board of Canada about the situation in Southern Sudan, Falardeau returned to the theme when he directed tonight's feature presentation, The Good Lie (2014).

His most recent film, My Internship in Canada, a satirical look at Canadian politics, will premiere at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.



YOU CAN HELP TOO!

Through The Good Lie Fund the movie has been raising money for Unicef for South Sudan and various South Sudanese organizations benefiting the lost boys and girls. Amnesty International, Concern, RefugePoint, Enough Project, Oxfam, Go Project and other NGOs have been using the film for fundraising and awareness.

You too can help South Sudanese children in crisis and Lost Boys and Girls' communities by donating to The Good Lie Fund, which is partnering with trusted agencies already providing humanitarian and educational support.

Your donations will support the work of organizations such as UNICEF, which is the leading Good Lie Fund partner heading a response in South Sudan to address the health needs of children at risk from cholera outbreaks, and to scale up malnutrition treatment to protect an estimated 50,000 children who may otherwise lose their lives.



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