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Not your average competition documentary

Directors: Sean Fine, Andrea Nix Fine
Cinematographer: Sean Fine
Studio/Run Time: THINKfilm, 105 mins.

“In our daily life, there must be music,”

says Dominic, a 14-year-old Patongo School student in northern Uganda, about to compete in the National Music Competition. On the surface, War/Dance seems like any other competition movie: Students practice, learn about themselves and then perform on the big stage—though such a trip to the capital city doesn’t usually involve armed escorts. Patongo, situated in a refugee camp, overflows with orphans and others displaced by rebel fighters. Solace is found only in music and dance. The Fines were fortunate to capture the school’s first-ever foray to the festival, as well as a group of compelling children. Tears streaming down his face in extreme close-up, Dominic recounts how he had to kill so as to not be killed by rebels. While the nightmarish flashbacks don’t need such a heavy hand (the stories are harrowing enough), the film shows how music can make life bearable amidst daily violence.