WFP has joined with Warner Bros. Pictures to hold a landmark series of screenings of the film Blood Diamond, which is set against the backdrop of the chaos and civil war that enveloped Sierra Leone in the 1990s. The screenings will take place in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Blood Diamond opened the world's eyes to the tragic suffering endured by so many people across the country
WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran
Directed by Ed Zwick and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly and Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond has never before publicly screened in the war-ravaged West African country whose troubled recent history is explored in the film.
The screenings, which will be free to the public, will be held at the British Council on May 8 and 9, 2007. As many as 600 people are expected to view the film over the course of the two evenings.
"Blood Diamond opened the world's eyes to the tragic suffering endured by so many people across the country, as well as WFP's work to help them," said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran.
"It also brought into focus the extreme cruelty and tragedy of child soldiers. Sierra Leoneans can take great pride in the immense achievements since the end of the war."
WFP, whose distinctive white and blue markings appear prominently during various scenes in the film, is currently providing food assistance to over 300,000 people in Sierra Leone in its efforts to help rebuild the country after nearly ten years of civil war.
WFP delivers rations to vulnerable groups, including school children, families struggling to re-establish their livelihoods and refugees returning home from neighbouring Liberia.
The global distribution of Blood Diamond has helped to raise awareness of hunger and poverty, which stalk more than 850 million people globally.
The film includes scenes depicting realistic aid operations as undertaken by WFP in the '90s while feeding thousands of war victims who fled within Sierra Leone and to neighbouring countries. At the time, WFP aid workers witnessed acute humanitarian needs and untold levels of violence and cruelty, similar to those depicted in the movie.
Stars Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly added their voices to the call to end hunger by participating in a public service announcement for the World Food Programme, which was broadcast worldwide.
"It is wonderful to have the chance to make this story available to the people of Sierra Leone," said director Ed Zwick. "After all, it is a story that belongs to them."
The Freetown event is being completely financed by Warner Bros. Pictures.