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Jeff Consiglio Edits Academy Award Nominated Documentary

Co-founder of Group101Films, Jeff Consiglio recently edited the documentary WARDANCE, directed by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2008.

Set in Northern Uganda, a country ravaged by more than two decades of civil war, WARDANCE tells the story of Dominic, Rose and Nancy, three children whose families have been torn apart, their homes destroyed, and who currently reside in a displaced persons camp in remote Patongo. When they are invited to compete in an annual music and dance festival, their historic journey to their nation's capital becomes an opportunity to regain a part of their childhood and to taste victory for the first time in their lives.

WARDANCE received the Best Documentary Directing award at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and Philadelphia Film Festival, Best Documentary Award at Sedona International Film Festival, Audience Favorite Award at Full Frame Film Festival and Hot Docs International Film Festival, among other awards. Think Film Company will be distributing WARDANCE theatrically in the Fall of 2007.

"The instant I saw the first minute of footage from Uganda I was sold on editing this film," Jeff says. "Sean Fine is a brilliant director of photography with that rare talent for getting people to feel comfortable enough to open up to his camera. These kids have been through more than I could ever have imagined, and yet they demonstrate such powerful human spirit in their lives and in this film. The combination of beautiful imagery, the wonderful producing team of Sean and Andrea, and an astonishingly powerful story that had yet to be told was more than I could resist."

Jeff edited the film in Washington DC for six months in 2006. "It was exhausting," says Jeff. "Some of the material in this film is emotionally draining and I would collapse at the end of the day, sometimes unable to even speak. There were very difficult weeks in there. We joked about how often there were tears in the editing room - we traded both sad and happy breakdowns between the three of us throughout the entire edit. But ultimately the film is such a rich message of hope, pride and personal redemption that we always ended up inspired and happy."

So far, the audiences seem to agree. A typical festival screening of WARDANCE ends in a standing ovation followed by a giddy crowd sharing their stories of the emotional roller coaster ride they just took together. "We're thrilled at the response. Sean, Andrea and I are so in love with Dominic, Rose and Nancy that we hope the film reaches as wide an audience as possible, because first and foremost this film is delivering a clear message about what is happening to these kids and all of the people of Northern Uganda, and this message needs to be heard."

And if that message is heard widely, it will translate directly into relief. WARDANCE is a new form of documentary film, one that was produced entirely by a non-profit organization, Shine Global, created "to end the suffering and exploitation of children around the world through documentary filmmaking." None of the filmmakers receive any share of the film's profits; instead, all proceeds from ticket sales, DVD sales, ancillary sales, etc. go directly to the aid organizations that provide invaluable resources, food, supplies and education to the children of Northern Uganda. Shine Global is the brainchild of Albie Hecht, formerly the head of Spike Television Network and Nickelodeon, and Susan Maclauray, executive producers of WARDANCE.

A film where the backend profits don't buy boats for its producers is almost unheard of in Hollywood. But WARDANCE appears to be at the beginning of what could be a wide field of documentary films that translate ticket sales into direct aid for the film's subjects.

"It's definitely the best part of this entire project," Jeff says. "I would have loved working on this film anyway, but to know that if we did our job well then Dominic, Rose and Nancy may see a direct improvement in their lives...that's something you can't measure against anything else."

WARDANCE is available on DVD everywhere.

Official Site
Fine Films
Shine Global
Think Film
Aid Organizations: