Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Eye on the Oscars: Documentaries

COUNTRY: U.S.

DIRECTOR: Gini Reticker has also directed and produced “Asylum” and “A Decade Under the Influence.”

SUBJECT: Liberian Christian and Muslim women create a coalition for peace, demonstrating against President Charles Taylor until he is exiled for war crimes, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is elected in 2006 as Africa’s first female head of state.

FINANCING: Budget of less than $1 million was fully funded by the pic’s producer, Abigail Disney, the grandniece of Walt, via her Fork Films.

DISTRIB: Opened in Gotham, L.A. and D.C. on Nov. 14, with Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago and Denver to follow via distrib Balcony Releasing. Airs on Wide Angle (PBS) in spring 2010 as part of a four-part series called “Women, War and Peace.”

HELMER COMMENTS: “At first I was a little mixed about making it,” Reticker says. “I was very aware of the war in Liberia, and all of the stories I had ever heard coming from there were incredibly brutal. That made me a little hesitant over whether or not I could spend the amount of time it would take to tell such a story. But then I met Leymah Gbowee (one of the film’s main characters). After that meeting, I was completely sure that we had a film that wasn’t depressing but actually quite hopeful and inspirational.”

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