It’s been one year since the release of Kony2012. Thank you for engaging with thoughtful advocacy and voices for peace, and standing against the demands for further militarization in Africa. As Margaret Mead says: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Our Thoughts on Invisible Children’s Newest film, MOVE
MOVE traces the history of Invisible Children (IC), the making of KONY2012, the aftermath of KONY2012, and culminates with a call to action to participate in their Washington DC rally and lobby. Thankfully, Invisible Children has summarized the entire 30 minute film better than we ever could (and in less than 150 characters!): “A movie about a movie about a movement about you”. No, this is not a joke.
Jason Russell Takes Center Stage:
At the peak of KONY2012 the only thing competing for headlines with Joseph Kony was filmmaker Jason Russell, so it is no surprise that Russell’s nervous breakdown is addressed head on. An explanation and an apology is offered to viewers in an attempt to restore confidence in the integrity of their organization. Unfortunately, too much time is spent dwelling on Russell’s breakdown and recovery and he is once again placed on center stage. Although we are happy to hear that Russell has made a full recovery, MOVE feels like a painfully longer repeat of his interview on Oprah’s Next Chapter (both premiered on the same night). Besides making it difficult to stay engaged, the generous time spent on Russell’s story is another missed opportunity to allocate time to a number of other worthy mentions (real lessons learned from KONY2012, how participation in the DC event translates into an arrest of Kony, etc).
IC Frames Millennials as the Center of Backlash:
This is really where MOVE is most clever. After KONY2012 a public conversation emerged around the intentions and ability of youth, or “millennials”, to create meaningful change. Words like “slacktivism” dominated public discourse as many weighed in on the trouble with IC’s activism (sharing tweets, wearing t-shirts, etc). Although this was an important conversation, this did not characterize the majority of backlash against Invisible Children—contrary to what MOVE strongly suggests (at one point a clip is shown labeling millennials as “unfit to live”).
By framing backlash to KONY2012 as a wider attack waged against all millennials and their ability to create change, MOVE deflects the need to address the true grievances with IC’s advocacy and approach. Backlash against KONY2012 is transformed into backlash against You, The Millennial, and room for reflection takes a backseat as you are rallied to “move” and prove your attackers wrong.
Does MOVE Achieve its Stated Aims?
According to it’s official description on Youtube, MOVE aims to garner your participation for their Washington DC event on November 17 where they will “rally by the thousands to stand for peace and justice”. Although this is their only stated aim for the film, mention of the event isn’t made until the last three minutes of the movie; but for Invisible Children, whose brevity and oversimplifications are admittedly intentional, perhaps three minutes are enough. Time will tell. With 100+ million views and millions pledging support, KONY2012 still did not reach its aim to “Cover the Night” and event participation was both a disappointment and example of slacktivism at its worst.
Will You Move?
Do your research, then move. Or stand still. Or sit… just do your research first.