Honorable Mention – “Seven Grams” (France)

Title: Seven Grams
Runtime: 8 min
Country: France
Director: Karim Ben Khelifa, TT Hernandez
Placement: Honorable Mention
Competition: June, 2022

Synopsis: In 2008, at age 12, Chance was abducted by the NDC, an active guerrilla group in Eastern Congo, while visiting his older sister in Mubi in the province of North Kivu.

After a long night of walking in the bush, Chance learned, that he and the other 60 captives were now under the order of Tcheka, a notorious warlord and leader of the NDC. Despite his tender age Chance was taught how to fight and train to kill. To do so he and the other minors were often given alcohol and drugs. When he wasn’t fighting Chance was ordered to guard some mines under the rebel group’s control and forced to dig for gold and cassiterite in hazardous conditions.

During his 6 year ordeal many of the other child soldiers and forced miners around him died – some shot, some buried under collapsed rocks. Many more tried to escape.

Over time tensions within the rebel group grew, as the two leaders fought over the control of it. At times Chance felt the guards’ attention was slipping. One day while in-group fighting broke out, Chance saw an opportunity to escape. It was the second time but this time he seized the favorable moment and ran away into the forest. For two days he avoided any human contact, until finally he met an old man, he felt he could trust. Thanks to him Chance found his way back to his village where he was reunited with his family.