They came with guns blazing, overrunning villages, towns and cities. They claimed to be freedom fighters, promising to liberate the people from the shackles of dictatorship to usher in a new polity of freedom. But, no sooner had dusk fell on their promise, the dawn was befouled by the macabre mayhem of murder, maiming, rape, pillaging and looting they unleashed upon the people.
Comprehensively, because Debo has used his remarkable cinematic talent to create a poignantly panoramic film that captures the breadth of atrocities people were subjected to during the Liberian Civil War. Audaciously, because since the war ended in 2003, the warlords and other major players in the war have assumed positions of power, so Debo had to negotiate a minefield as he tried to, nonetheless, paint a realistic picture of what transpired during the war, while at the same time, refraining from portraying any real life characters.
“…Freedom is a movie about our experiences as Liberians, and I made it because I felt that we as a people needed something that will serve as a sober reflection so that we can be reminded that war is absolutely not the answer to any of our problems.”Dream Debo, Liberian film director and producer
Once Upon A Time In Liberia: They Came To Steal, Kill And Destroy
“When I was making Freedom, I was cautious because I did not want to offend anyone. You know we still have some of the warlords in our midst and I didn’t want to do a story that necessarily pointed to the actions of any one warlord in particular. So, I decided to therefore do a story that fully depicted some of what transpired during the war, but I changed some of the storylines and dialogues to avoid incriminating any one warlord or personality,” said Debo.
“I was here from the start of the war until it ended. I never went anywhere so I know exactly what happened. And, I felt that as a filmmaker, I could offer more in creating a movie that actually tells the real story of the Liberian Civil War,” added Debo.
“I thought about doing Freedom after watching Johnny Mad Dog because I felt that it fell short in its depiction of the Liberian Civil War. For example, there were people who
Spreading A Sober Message That War Is Never The Answer
And, more than just using the reels of his film to tell the broader story of what transpired during Liberia’s Civil War, which has been described as one of the most brutal civil conflicts in recent memory, Debo hopes that his movie will also serve as a sober reflection for his nation.
“In essence, Freedom is a movie about our experiences as Liberians, and I made it because I felt that we as a people needed something that will serve as a sober reflection so that we can be reminded that war is absolutely not the answer to any of our problems. And, my hope is that this message will resonate especially with the younger generations of Liberians who did not experience the civil war,” he added.
In a war-addled nation like Liberia, where cleavages still run deep and the embers of war are still being extinguished even after over a decade of peace, it
And, in that vein, Debo, who is the founder and CEO of Platinum Entertainment Production, a legally registered entertainment company in Liberia, is seeking partnerships with all interested and capable persons to help distribute his movie to a worldwide audience. To get in touch with Debo to discuss the possibility of partnering with him to distribute Freedom, you may reach him at (+231)-770-215-981.
You can also find out more about Debo’s other film projects and his contributions to develop Liberia’s fledging film industry by following him on Facebook.