Portraying Children and Armed Conflict on Film
The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, as part of a two-day workshop on children and armed conflict, hosted a public talk on Thursday, February 7, 2013, at 3:00 p.m. in 016 Robertson Hall, featuring a screening of the short film, Ana's Playground, and a discussion with the film's director, Eric Howell.
Ana’s Playground is about a rag-tag group of children in an unidentified, war-torn country who are playing soccer while listening to a professional match. When their ball flies out of reach, our hero Ana is unexpectedly forced into a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a sniper. As the contest on the radio heats up, Ana, her friends, and the sniper all listen intently to the broadcast. In a fleeting moment, Ana forges a connection with her enemy – a mutual respect born in the recognition of worthy adversaries. However, the shared moment passes and the no man’s land swallows them up once again, with soccer, and sport in general, representing what’s left of their receding youth. The story focuses on the moment a child is forced to choose between ideology and humanity, and how the world often responds to that choice. Ana’s Playground avoids political or regional stereotypes. Its focus is on the effects of violence on children, rather than on the political or racial differences of a particular conflict. The film was awarded top honors at 4 qualifying festivals of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and was short listed for an Academy Award® Nomination.