Winner of the Best Documentary Feature Award. Special Awards Screenings of this film will be held on May 4th (see schedule for details).
Charles Taylor was elected president of Liberia in 1996 and soon proved to be a corrupt dictator. Opposing warlords emerged from the North and raped, murdered, and terrorized the citizens of Liberia while Charles Taylor purportedly supported them in secret. The war killed 250,000 people and displaced one million citizens. With skillful eloquence, Pray the Devil Back to Hell tells the often overlooked story of how thousands of women in Liberia peacefully ended the country's second bloody civil war. Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian woman who witnessed both civil wars,had a dream: "To get the women of the church together to pray for peace." She invited ordinary mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and daughters from neighboring churches to start the Christian Women's Peace Initiative. Asatu Bah Kenneth was one of Leymah's first supporters. She happened to be Muslim. Determined to make peace, they asked, "Does the bullet know Christian from Muslim?" They dressed in pure white and sat by the thousands to protest the war. When peace talks in Ghana came to a standstill, the women literally formed a physical barricade around the building and didn't allow the men to exit until a deal was bartered. The women of Liberia are proof that nonviolent and peaceful protest isn't just a fantasy-it can be a triumphant reality. Their work culminated in the election of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Africa's first elected female head of state. "Pray the Devil Back to Hell eloquently captures the power each of us innately has within our souls to make this world a far better,safer, more peaceful place," wrote Desmond Tutu. Indeed, director Gini Reticker has made a commanding, inspiring, and emotionally stirring documentary about the futility of war and the splendor of peace.