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“I Am Not Who They Think I Am” tells the story of Janet and Stella, two strong women from northern Uganda who were abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) when they were teenagers and bore children during their time in captivity. After eight years as hostages of Joseph Kony’s army, they escaped—together with their children—and are trying to reintegrate back into society in their hometowns, amidst stigma and rejection from their community. Despite their own victimizations as abductees to fight a war they didn't believe in, they and their children, are deemed criminals by their own communities.

Today, Stella and Janet are inspiring leaders who are demanding redress from society and government actors alike.

The International Center for Transitional Justice, a leading organization specializing in transitional justice, brought this story to MediaStorm to catalyze a conversation on the long-term consequences of wartime sexual violence. In co-creating this film, we hope to educate people on the issue; inspire them with Stella and Janet's story; and encourage policy makers and others to consider this serious issue when discussing issues of transitional justice.

“I Am Not Who They Think I Am” was first screened for local communities in Kampala and Gulu, in October. The events brought together victims, senior politicians, donors, media, and members of civil society for discussions on how to combat stigma and pressure the government on redress. Following these screening, its two protagonists, Janet Arach and Stella Lanam have been awarded the EU 2017 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk.

The film’s New York premiere at the Open Society Foundation included a panel featuring Abigail Disney, of Fork Films; Lauren Wolfe, director of Women Under Siege; Tatyana Karanasios, deputy program director at WITNESS; and Sarah Kasande, the head of ICTJ’s office in Uganda.

Client: International Center for Transitional Justice
Published: February 2, 2017
The Challenge
The main challenge our produces faced when creating this film was a lack of source material. Initially, the team at ICTJ returned from Uganda with a handful of interviews, a few scenes involving the main characters interacting with children, and some assorted photographs.

After a month of editing, and numerous conversations, both MediaStorm and ICTJ realized that there was not enough video footage to tell the complete story of these women; and we were reluctant to use too much stock footage.

I Am Not Who They Think I Am

I Am Not Who They Think I Am

I Am Not Who They Think I Am

The Solution
MediaStorm and ICTJ met to discuss a way forward. Together, we realized that acquiring additional material from Uganda would be necessary. MediaStorm producers created an extensive and detailed wish list of all missing material. ICTJ then contacted a team member already on the ground in Gulu and with the assistance of MediaStorm worked to ensure that items on the list were documented on video.

The Results
The film has already helped to break down barriers. In a community screening in Uganda, members of the public were shocked and saddened to learn of the impacts of discrimination on children. The Archbishop, an influential leader, spoke up against the discrimination. Janet and Stella, in addition to other leaders, are also successfully leveraging the film as an advocacy tool to demand the government provide redress to them and their children to end this stigma.

About the Client
The International Center for Transitional Justice is an international non-profit organization specializing in the field of transitional justice.

ICTJ works to help societies in transition address legacies of massive human rights violations and build civic trust in state institutions as protectors of human rights.

In the aftermath of mass atrocity and repression, we assist institutions and civil society groups—the people who are driving and shaping change in their societies—in considering measures to provide truth, accountability, and redress for past abuses.

We do this by providing technical expertise and knowledge of relevant comparative experiences in transitional justice from across the globe.

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