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Life 8 - Moments of Truth

In 1984, Charles Stewart shot the first film to alert the world to the terrible famine taking place in Korem, in Ethiopia. It helped trigger the 1985 Live Aid concert, leading in turn to the largest public donation of aid ever seen. Now in his 70s, Charles and his partner, Pat Scott Robson, return to Ethiopia to find the folks he filmed then. Swapping his vintage motorbike for Africa's chaotic buses, they travel across the country to to find out if, under the new government of Ethiopian President Meles Zenawi, they're finally free from danger.

'Moments of Truth is an unusual film, showing not only the lives of people in drought-affected regions of Ethiopia, but their complicated relationship with the journalist who has chronicled their lives for decades. Complicated and affecting.' Dr. Deborah Maine, Professor of International Health, Boston University

'There is a continuous challenge of trying to strike a balance in the film[s]...[The films] can be used successfully in stimulating a discussion amongst the youth about the negative aspects of such a life as well as an exploration of alternatives.' Teboho Moja, Clinical Professor of Higher Education, New York University

'[Moments of Truth] raises questions about sustainable development. While emergency aid is needed in times of famine, only projects emphasizing sustainable development can prevent famine from happening again. The film also touches on the problematic issue that the film maker - representing many who work in international development - benefits from what he documents but the livelihood of the documented is not improved. Witnessing the suffering and dying of thousands did not leave him unscarred but pays his bills, allowing him to live a secure life in England, while those whose lives and suffering he documented are either dead or continue to suffer. The film is valuable for introducing a discussion on the realities and the impact of international aid. [Moments of Truth] highlights the need for emergency aid to be followed up by long-term sustainable development programs.' Dr. Alexander Rodlach, Assistant professor, Sociology and Anthropology, Creighton University

'An unusual, unflinchingly honest film about the relationships between a compassionate British filmmaker and his subjects in Ethiopia. Briton Charles Stewart and his wife return to the scenes of 1980s famines to find the hard-working people whose stories originally helped bring Ethiopian suffering to the world's attention. An excellent resource for teaching about the complexities of international aid and the politics of media representation.' Teresa Barnes, Associate Professor, Departments of History and Gender and Women's Studies, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


Main credits

Stewart, Charles (Director)
Stewart, Charles (Cinematographer)
Bradshaw, Steve (Narrator)

Other credits

Music, Audio Network; Editor, Sotira Kyriacou.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

African Studies
Developing World
Millennium Development Goals
Sustainable Development


Charles Stewart, Ethiopian famine, Korem, Ethiopia, Africa, Pat Scott Robson, Meles Zenawi; "Moments of Truth"; Bullfrog Films; "Life 8"

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