Competing at this year's Oscars in the best Short Film Live Action category is Aquel no era yo (That Wasn't Me), written and directed by Esteban Crespo and set in Sierra Leon.
Described as a story of redemption, the Spanish film tells the story of Paula (Alejandra Lorente), a social worker from Spain who follows her boyfriend to Sierra Leone to aid and rescue child soldiers. During tumultuous circumstances, Paula crosses paths and bonds with a child soldier named Kaney (Juan Tojaka).
Here's the full synopsis:
The short film AQUEL NO ERA YO (That wasn’t me), written and directed by Spanish director Esteban Crespo, tells the story of PAULA and KANEY. Two characters, an African child and a Spanish woman, who could have nothing in common, but will get to join their lives forever through a life-giving shot.
KANEY (Juan Tojaka) is an African child soldier. He lives with many child soldiers and obeys the orders given by the man who has become like their father, the GENERAL of the Rebel Army (Babou Cham).
PAULA (Alejandra Lorente) is a Spanish aid worker who moved to Africa following her boyfriend, JUANJO (Gustavo Salmerón), in order to bring help and to rescue the child soldiers who live there.
In a border crossing point, PAULA and KANEY meet each other and this will be the starting point of this dramatic story, full of fear, violence and redemption.
AQUEL NO ERA YO was conceived to respond to the wish of showing the harshness of the child soldiers’ lives and something that we rarely see: its consequences. On the other hand, AQUEL NO ERA YO responds to the wish of paying a tribute to the altruistic labor of those people who put their lives into danger every day in order to save other people’s lives.
As an ex child soldier of the Sierra Leone armed conflict said: “Being a soldier is not that difficult: either you get used to it or they kill you. The most difficult thing is to get used to living with your own memories and to being yourself again after doing the things you have done”.