Hinterland - A Child Soldier’s Road Back to South Sudan

Albert Elings
Eugenie Jansen



75 min



In 2002, the young Sudanese asylum seeker Kon Kelei starred in the Dutch feature film Sleeping Rough, about the friendship between a Sudanese refugee and a grouchy war veteran. At that time, the former child soldier had just been refused asylum in the Netherlands. During the shoot and afterward, documentary filmmaker Albert Elings taught Kon how to use a video camera and how to make a video diary of his life; Kon’s footage is used in the film as well. When the situation in Sudan is considered safe enough, Elings follows Kon on his first trip back. They visit Kon’s family and his place of birth and travel through his war-torn country. This voyage is intercut with footage of Kon’s years in the Netherlands. He eventually obtains a residence permit, goes to law school, and uses collection campaigns and lectures to fight for the fate of the countrymen he left behind, and for whom he feels considerably responsible. His studies allow him to help them, but his stay abroad has also altered his view of his home country. This leads to some painfully moments, yet Kon is determined to help build the new nation of South , which seceded from Sudan this summer.