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The Legacy of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the Charles Taylor Trial: A Screening of WAR DON DON

February 26, 2013, 7:00 P.M.

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007


Outside the Box [Office], International Human Rights Clinic at the USC Gould School of Law, Artists for Human Rights, Center for International Studies, Office of Religious Life, Department of Political Science, International Law and Relations Organization, Racing Horse Films and Naked Edge Productions invite you and a guest to a special screening of

The Legacy of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the Charles Taylor Trial: A Screening of War Don Don

Directed & Produced by Rebecca Richman Cohen
Produced & Edited by Francisco Bello

Introduced by Anne Archer, Actress and Founder, Artists for Human Rights
Followed by a Q&A with Rebecca Richman Cohen; Elise Keppler, Senior Counsel in the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch; Dr. Michael Renov, Ph.D., Vice Dean, School of Cinematic Arts; Moderated by Hannah Garry, Professor at the USC Gould School of Law.
7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
The Ray Stark Family Theatre
George Lucas Building, SCA 108
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

*WINNER* Special Jury Prize,
South by Southwest Film Festival 2010

Nominated for two Emmy Awards 2011:
Outstanding Continuing Coverage Of A News Story – Long Form Outstanding Editing

*WINNER* Karen Schmeer Award for Excellence in Editing, IFFBoston 2010
*WINNER* Taiwan International Documentary Festival, First Merit Prize 2010
*WINNER* Cinereach Award presented by Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2010 *WINNER* Festival International du Film des Droits de L’Homme,
Best Film Award, Investigative Report Jury

About War Don Don

After ten years of violent civil war, Sierra Leoneans were relieved in 2002 when the brutal war was over (exclaimed as “war don don” in the Krio language), but the painful memories of murder, systematic rape and dismemberment remained. War Don Don, directed by first-time filmmaker Rebecca Richman Cohen, follows the war crimes trial of Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel leader Issa Sesay, exploring the complex relationship between individual accountability, collective reconciliation and the limits of international justice.

From 1991 to 2001, the RUF fought to overthrow the ruling government of Sierra Leone. In 2003, after the end of the war, the United Nations and the government of Sierra Leone spent more than $200 million building a Special Court to seek justice and reconciliation, setting up the world’s first international war crimes “hybrid tribunal.” Three years in the making, War Don Don draws on unprecedented access to the inner workings of the defense and prosecution in Issa Sesay’s trial, including access to Sesay himself, exploring the contradictions of a man who dealt in blood diamonds, commanded child soldiers and was blamed for mass atrocities against civilians, while also being credited by some with single-handedly ending the war.

Provided courtesy of Racing Horse Films and Naked Edge Productions. Not Rated. Running time: 85 minutes.

To learn more about the film and to view the trailer, click here

Visit the Official Facebook page at:


About the Guests

REBECCA RICHMAN COHEN is an Emmy Award nominated filmmaker and a lecturer on law at Harvard Law School. She interned as an investigator at the Bronx Defenders and continued to do investigative work at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, working on a legal defense team for Alex Tamba Brima in the AFRC-accused case. Five months after leaving the Brima defense team, she returned to Sierra Leone to begin production on War Don Don, which profiles the trial of a leader of a separate warring faction. Between trips to Sierra Leone, she has been adjunct faculty at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and American University’s Human Rights Institute. Rebecca graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies and with a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, where she now teaches. For her work on War Don Don she was awarded the the Cinereach Award for excellence in vital, artful storytelling and the Hugo Munsterberg Award for psychology of human nature in cinema. War Don Don also won the Special Jury Prize at the SXSW Film Festival and was nominated for two Emmy awards: Outstanding Continuing Coverage Of A News Story (Long Form) and Outstanding Editing. In 2010 Rebecca was profiled in Filmmaker Magazine's 25 New Faces in Independent Film as an “up-and-comer poised to shape the next generation of independent film."

ELISE KEPPLER is senior counsel with the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch. She is the author of fact-finding reports on the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone and Uganda’s International Crimes Division, and played an integral role in advocacy for former Liberian president Charles Taylor’s surrender to the Special Court and Darfur’s referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Ms. Keppler works closely with civil society across Africa to combat unprincipled backlash to the ICC following arrest warrants for the Sudanese president for Darfur crimes. She is regularly quoted by international and African media, including Associated Press, British Broadcasting Corporation, Al Jazeera, National Public Radio, New York Times, American Lawyer, Guardian (Nigeria), Daily Times (Malawi), The Monitor (Uganda), and Mail and Guardian (South Africa).
From January to April 2012, Ms. Keppler was a visiting scholar with the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit at the University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Law, during which she guest lectured on challenges for the future of international justice and and national prosecutions of human rights abuses. A graduate of Brown University and University of California, Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law, Ms. Keppler worked as a litigation associate at Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP prior to joining the International Justice Program in 2004.
For an interview with Elise Keppler on the Charles Taylor case and international justice that aired on NPR's Talk of the Nation, please visit:

MICHAEL RENOV, Professor of Critical Studies and Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, is the author of Hollywood's Wartime Woman: Representation and Ideology and The Subject of Documentary, editor of Theorizing Documentary, and co-editor of Resolutions: Contemporary Video Practices, Collecting Visible Evidence, The SAGE Handbook of Film Studies and Cinema's Alchemist: The Films of Peter Forgacs.

In 1993, Renov co-founded Visible Evidence, a series of international and highly interdisciplinary documentary studies conferences that have, to date, been held on four continents. He is one of three general editors for the Visible Evidence book series at the University of Minnesota Press, which has published 25 volumes on various aspects of nonfiction media since 1997. In 2005, he co-programmed the 51st annual Robert Flaherty Seminar, a week-long gathering of documentary filmmakers, curators and educators, creating 20 screening programs and filmmaker dialogues on the theme "Cinema and History."

In addition to curating documentary programs around the world, he has served as a jury member at documentary festivals including Sundance, Silverdocs, the Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival, Brazil's It's All True and the International Environmental Festival of Film and Video, also in Brazil. He has  taught graduate seminars at the University of Stockholm and Tel Aviv University and has led documentary workshops in Jordan for the Royal Film Commission and in Cyprus. Renov's teaching and research interests include documentary theory, autobiography in film and video, video art and activism and representations of the Holocaust.

HANNAH GARRY (Moderator) is clinical associate professor of law and founding director of USC Gould School of Law’s International Human Rights Clinic. She specializes in international human rights law, international criminal law, international humanitarian law and international refugee law.

Prior to joining USC in 2010, Prof. Garry has been a research consultant with Oxford University, UK, and Makerere University, Uganda, implementing a multi-year socio-legal research project on protection of refugee rights in Uganda and Kenya. She has also been a visiting lecturer teaching European human rights law at Peking University Law School in Beijing, and a visiting scholar at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, where she published a study on the court’s procedure for staying deportation of refugees from Europe. Prof. Garry was visiting faculty at the University of Colorado School of Law from 2007-10, where she supervised students on Guantanamo detainee representation as well as Alien Tort Statute litigation. In September 2008, Prof. Garry was a guest lecturer at the 4th Thematic Course on Refugee Law and Human Rights, at the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in San Remo, Italy. From 2009-2010, she was named an American Society of International Law Presidential Fellow.

Prof. Garry’s legal practice has included being a Legal Advisor in 2011-2012 to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. From 2004-2007, she was legal officer and Deputy Chef de Cabinet in the Appeals Chamber and Office of the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Garry has worked on international human rights and international criminal law issues since 1994 in Africa, Asia and Europe with a number of international human rights organizations.

Prof. Garry obtained her J.D. from Berkeley Law in 2002, her Master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University in 2001 and a graduate certificate in Forced Migration Studies with distinction from Oxford University, UK, in 1996.

About Outside the Box [Office]

Outside the Box [Office] is a weekly showcase for upcoming releases highlighting world cinema, documentary and independent film titles. Recognizing a need for greater diversity on campus, the series will draw from around the globe to present movies that may challenge, inspire or simply entertain.

To view the calendar of screenings, click here.

Check-In & Reservations

This screening is free of charge and open to the public. Please bring a valid USC ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M.

All SCA screenings are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.


The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $10.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in outdoor Lot M or V, or Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Please note that Parking Structure D cannot accommodate tall vehicles such as SUVs. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago