THE DEVIL CAME ON HORSEBACK A FILM BY ANNIE SUNDBERG AND RICKI STERNTHE DEVIL CAME ON HORSEBACK will bring forth and expose the violence and tragedy of the genocide taking place in Darfur as seen through the eyes of an American witness. Using more than a thousand uncompromising and exclusive photographs taken by former US Marine Captain Brian Steidle during his role as a military observer with the African Union, THE DEVIL CAME ON HORSEBACK propels the viewer through the tragic impact of an Arab government bent on destroying its black African citizens. As an official military observer, Steidle had access to parts of the country that no journalist could penetrate. He was unprepared for what he would witness and experience, including being fired upon, taken hostage, and being unable to intervene to save the lives of young children. Ultimately frustrated by the inaction of the international community, Steidle resigned and returned to the US to expose the images and stories of lives systematically destroyed. Haunted by what he has seen and the backlash against his advocacy efforts, Brian traveled to the refugee camps of Chad to reconnect with survivors of the violence he witnessed. This compelling film bears witness to unmentionable atrocities while celebrating the courage of a refugee community desperately trying to survive and poses the question: Why has the West not taken more urgent action to stop genocide this time? Directed, written and produced by award winning filmmakers Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern, THE DEVIL CAME ON HORSEBACK is also produced by Gretchen Wallace and Jane Wells.
Here is my email to Brian:
I haven't seen your film yet, but I've read quite a bit about it. I was in the first Desert Storm in the furthest deployed communications unit in Iraq. I also spent 37 days alone in Saudi Arabia on a radio relay site. I can appreciate your patriotism and your call to arms. I'm sure that when you signed up for this job, you had no idea what you were getting yourself into. A lesser or weaker person would have caught the first plane back to to America, but you were obviously chosen for a reason. The Powers That Be chose it's prophets, heroes and messengers very carefully. Not having seen your film, I don't know which category you fall under, but it took more than a lot of guts to do what you did. It took the utmost conviction, passion and fearlessness to do what you did. I wanted to say thank you for making such a courageous film. You literally risked your life to bring this to the big screen. In this day and age when Paris Hilton's jail time coverage broke into regularly scheduled programming, it's refreshing to see that there are still people out there making movies (and all forms of art) that count. I can't wait to see it. I know it will be painful to watch, but it's time America wakes up from it's Anna Nicole/Britney induced haze and get back to what's real. Who really gives a shit what celebrities are doing, who they're voting for or which God they worship this week?? There's so much more going on in this world worth our thoughts, prayers, actions and money. America got it's wake up call with 9/11, but it didnt take long at all for us to sink back to the bottom of our celebrity worshipping barrel. It amazes me how we have more access to information than any other time in human history, yet as a nation we are completely ignorant and blind to the plights of so many who are suffering in this world. I've heard of the John Lennon tribute cd for Darfur, but I don't see it doing much. For one, John Lennon is a hard person to cover musically as his music is iconic with a generation. Two, for the last 10 years or so, most tribute albums have sucked and people really don't seem to pay attention to them anymore. I praise Al Gore for his commitment to Global Warming and his Live Earth concert, but maybe it's time we turn our attention to the plight of the people of Darfur. I don't know what I can do to help, but I will do my best to at least get every single person I can to see your film and to personally write a letter to their senators demanding action. I plan to write about your film in there once I see it. It's time America stopped sweeping the unpleasantness of the "real" world under the rug. Thank you again for making this film and thank you to Brian for being brave enough to take on the job in the first place.
Sincerely, Wil Whalen South Portland ME