Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Real Lost Boys Relive Journey in New Movie

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Real Lost Boys Relive Journey in New Movie

Article excerpt

Byline: Meredith Rutland

The movie screen flashed bright with images of the African plains.

Sudanese children with sores on their feet and torn clothing on their backs slept in the middle of a field as soldiers approached, guns drawn.

The film "The Good Lie," based on the Lost Boys of Sudan, may have been historical fiction, but several men who themselves ran from the Sudanese civil war as children said the violence and the fear depicted was real. It was just like they remembered.

About a dozen Lost Boys and Girls who are now Jacksonville residents, many of whom have married, had children and become citizens, came to a special showing Thursday night of "The Good Lie," hosted by the Jacksonville-based Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan. The film was officially released in theaters Friday.

From the 1980s to the early 2000s, tens of thousands of refugee children were relocated to the U.S. from Sudan during the country's second Sudanese civil war. Aid workers dubbed them the Lost Boys, the name given to parentless children in the book "Peter Pan." The name is compounded because the children were often alone and had lost their childhood in a whirlwind of violence and death.

About 100 Lost Boys settled in Jacksonville, said Joan Hecht, president of the Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan.

The film follows a small group of children from their homes in South Sudan to a refugee camp in Kenya to new homes in the American Midwest.

Along the way, the movie's main characters lost their parents, some siblings and new friends to violence and illness.

When the credits rolled, some Lost Boys and Girls agreed that the film reminded them of moments they'd let themselves forget, the ones that only show up now in nightmares.

They said many of the movie's most difficult scenes weren't too different from the memories they try not to remember.

The sheer distance would be a difficult journey for anyone, let alone children who were left without food, water or reliable directions.

"Imagine you're walking from Florida to Arizona," said Lual Lual, 35, a Lost Boy who now lives in Arlington. …

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