By Phil Hall | January 15, 2012

Skye Fitzgerald’s compelling documentary short focuses on a pair of organizations dedicated to bringing some degree of peace to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo: Mines Advisory Group, a humanitarian endeavor that collects and destroys weapons stores, and Search for Common Ground, a performance unit that uses interactive street theater to preach the concepts of cooperation and tolerance.

Presenting the concept of peace in a country that has suffered some of the most extraordinary levels of wartime fatalities in modern times is no mean feat, and it is often difficult to watch the film without wondering whether either organization could possibly make any substantial input – particularly when too many factions, both Congolese and international, are profiting from the continued bloodshed.

Nonetheless, these organizations push forward with their missions: Mines Advisory Group removes some degree of weaponry from daily life while Search for Common Ground reaches the general public (including a large number of children) with their breezy-yet-wise performances.

If anything, this well-produced nonfiction film is important for providing a rare ground-level view of the violence and poverty in today’s Congo – and by doing this, it fills a void that has been left for too many years by an apparently Afrophobic U.S. television news industry.

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