Karim Chrobog '01
C. Karim Chrobog knows better than most that life often takes unexpected turns. “I never planned to be a filmmaker. I came to SFS planning to go into the diplomatic service, following in the footsteps of many of my family members back in Germany.” As an undergraduate, Karim followed the path that many BSFS students take, staying busy with classes, interning around Washington, and getting involved in extra-curricular activities. As an upperclassman, Karim served as the business manager of the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs.
It was not until after graduation that Karim realized what he really wanted to do. “I have always had an interest in documentaries and the globalization of music. When I first heard about Emmanuel Jal and his remarkable life story, I knew it would make a great film, and I decided to get involved.”
The resulting film, War Child, was an official selection of the 2008 Berlin, Edinburgh, Seattle, Montreal, Silverdocs, and Helsinki international film festivals, and won the prestigious audience choice award at the 2008 Tribeca International Film Festival. It follows Emmanuel Jal, a former child soldier and “lost boy” of Sudan, who became an international hip-hop star with his message of peace and hope for his home country.
“Jal’s story allows us a unique opportunity to address complicated issues, including the war in Sudan, the use of child soldiers, and the problem of refugees through the eyes of a musician,” Karim remarks. “That, combined with the inspirational nature of Jal’s story, and how he was able to overcome his traumatic past, is what drew me to the project.”
Currently, Karim’s company Tangier Pictures is developing a film on the 14th century Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta as well as a documentary called “Kidnapped,” which tells the story of the Chrobog family's kidnapping during a vacation gone awry in Yemen in 2005. Karim has also launched Gua Africa, a foundation that builds schools for former child soldiers and lost boys in the Sudan.
For more information on Emmanuel Jal, War Child, and Gua Africa, please visit www.warchildmovie.com.