A Soldier’s Footsteps

by Allan Tong for Festival Products

A different children’s movie is the chilling In A Soldier’s Footsteps, about child soldiers in Uganda. Danish director Mette Zeruneith was prepping a doc on Ugandan Steven Ndugga, who was 13 when he was conscripted into a paramilitary group, when his film took a sudden turn. Steven receives word that his 10-year-old son (presumed dead) is alive and serving as a soldier in the Ugandan army. To rescue his son, Steven returns to his homeland only to be abducted by the military as an alleged terrorist. The Danish crew travel to Uganda to find Steven, but come up against corrupt Ugandan officials who oppose the film and restrict access at every turn. A Soldier’s Footsteps plays like a Hollywood spy thriller. The audience never knows if Steven is fine, and fears for the Danish crew. This is a dark film about government secrets, dirty lies and innocent children.

Allan Tong is a filmmaker, Toronto-based festival programmer and film journalist who specializes in rock music.

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