Anti-Kony group releases follow-up to viral video

Thu Apr 5, 2012 10:18pm EDT
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By Mary Slosson

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The makers of the viral "Kony 2012" video that drew world attention to a violent rebel campaign by fugitive Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony released a new film on Thursday, pushing back against criticism that their work oversimplified a long-running conflict.

The video, shot in the same energetic and idealistic style as the viral hit, encourages viewers to see themselves as global citizens in a close-knit world that needs to see Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army brought to justice.

"We want people to dig deeper into this conflict and actively engage in the solutions," Ben Keesey, CEO of Invisible Children, said in a statement announcing the new 20-minute video: "Kony 2012: Part II - Beyond Famous."

The "Kony 2012" film became an Internet sensation last month, racking up more than 100 million hits in six days on social media after it was first posted on the Internet.

Its success has been hailed for inspiring young people to activism, but the film has also been criticized for ignoring African initiatives to solve the crisis and opening up old wounds.

Unlike the first video, which focuses heavily on the personality of filmmaker Jason Russell, the new video includes a plethora of African voices and more detailed context on the current status of Kony and his rebel group.

But the attention the film generated has also taken its toll on Russell, the narrator of the "Kony 2012" film, who suffered a public meltdown in California that doctors described as a brief psychotic breakdown.

"We've always been the underdog hitting the ceiling with a broomstick saying, 'Listen, we're trying to do something over here!' And then everybody looked," Jedidiah Jenkins, Invisible Children's Director of Idea Development, told Reuters before the second video launch.   Continued...

A scene from the video “Kony 2012 Part II” made by California advocacy group Invisible Children, is pictured in this handout photo received by Reuters April 5, 2012. REUTERS/Invisible Children/Handout