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  • Toni Smith

'The Wound is Where the Light Enters' wins at the AHRC Research in Film Awards 2021!

The Wound is Where the Light Enters was created by Dheeraj Akolkar (Vardo Films). It is a film about the making of ‘Otino Onywalo Ilum’, a documentary-dance project performed by fifteen children born of wartime rape in Northern Uganda. Otino Onywalo Ilum explores the experiences of children born of war (CBOW), the stigma they face in everyday life, as well as routes to their empowerment. Performances were directed by Darrel Toulon of The Alpha Group. The project aims to support and inspire CBOW to recognise and unleash their potential. It seeks to enable CBOW to make themselves visible and exercise their rights, as well as show how creativity provides an important outlet and source of healing.

The film won this year’s Inspiration Award at the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Research in Film Awards. Many films were submitted for recognition this year, with the judges shortlisting twenty-five. From this selection they chose five eventual winners for different categories. Judges included broadcaster and director of Kush Communications, Zeinab Badawi, inaugural director of V&A East and cultural historian, Dr Gus Casely-Hayford, OBE, and Professor of Film and Television Studies at the University of Nottingham, Paul Grainge. They praised The Wound is Where the Light Enters as “an outstanding film”, expanding on this by emphasising how,

The wounds that each child has experienced become a basis in the film for empowerment in coming together performatively. The director brilliantly captures the dynamic of the group and the workshop and gives voice to the young adults in an accessible documentary that leaves the viewer moved and inspired by acts of collective (and individual) expression.

Congratulations to all those involved in the making of this film and Otino Onywalo Ilum, particularly our participants and children born of war who chose to share their stories through performance.

See below for the trailer for The Wound is Where the Light Enters:

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