Hinterland - A Child Soldier's Road Back to South Sudan

  • Hinterland - A Child Soldier's Road Back to South Sudan
Genre : Biography
Type : Documentary
Original title :
Principal country concerned : Column : Cinema/tv
Year of production : 2011
Format : Feature
Running time : 75 (in minutes)

In 2002, the young Sudanese asylum seeker Kon Kelei starred in the Dutch feature film Sleeping Rough, about the friendship between a Sudanese refugee and a grouchy war veteran. At that time, the former child soldier had just been refused asylum in the Netherlands. During the shoot and afterward, documentary filmmaker Albert Elings taught Kon how to use a video camera and how to make a video diary of his life; Kon's footage is used in the film as well. When the situation in Sudan is considered safe enough, Elings follows Kon on his first trip back. They visit Kon's family and his place of birth and travel through his war-torn country. This voyage is intercut with footage of Kon's years in the Netherlands. He eventually obtains a residence permit, goes to law school, and uses collection campaigns and lectures to fight for the fate of the countrymen he left behind, and for whom he feels considerably responsible. His studies allow him to help them, but his stay abroad has also altered his view of his home country. This leads to some painfully moments, yet Kon is determined to help build the new nation of South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan this summer.

Dir: Albert Elings

2011, The Netherlands, color, HD, 75 min

Director: Albert Elings
Photography: Eugenie Jansen, Kon Kelei
Screenplay: Albert Elings, Eugenie Jansen
Editing: Piet Oomes
Sound: Albert Elings, Marc Lizier
Production: Suzanne van Voorst for IDTV Docs
Executive producer: Ilja Roomans for IDTV Docs
Involved TV Channel HUMAN

Selected for
IDFA 2011
DOCS 2011

Quick Search
Genre: Human Interest / Social Issues
Genre: Politics / Society
Country of Production: Netherlands, The
competitive programme: IDFA Competition for Dutch Documentary
Length: more than 60

Contact info
World Sales IDTV Docs, Suzanne van Voorst Screening copy IDTV Docs

Summary for official catalogues

Kon Kelei came to the Netherlands as a fugitive child-soldier from South-Sudan. He proved a fighter indeed: he got asylum and schooling, became an actor and a representative for the War Child organization. Now Kon has to choose: will he go back to South-Sudan to help build a new nation as a lawyer? Or will he stay in the west? Where is home anyway for this world citizen? Is he still a Dinka, or has he become a westerner even when he returns to Africa? Hinterland follows Kon Kelei through the years on his journeys in two home countries.

Albert Elings, The Netherlands, 75min


  • Arterial network
  • Media, Sports and Entertainment Group (MSE)
  • Gens de la Caraïbe
  • Groupe 30 Afrique
  • Alliance Française VANUATU
  • Zimbabwe : Culture Fund Of Zimbabwe Trust
  • RDC : Groupe TACCEMS
  • Rwanda : Positive Production
  • Togo : Kadam Kadam
  • Niger : ONG Culture Art Humanité
  • Collectif 2004 Images
  • Africultures Burkina-Faso
  • Bénincultures / Editions Plurielles
  • Africiné
  • Afrilivres

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