This is the most-watched online video ever.
Over 65 million people have watched the Invisible Children's online 30-minute documentary titled "KONY 2012", created by a San Diego-based not-for-profit organization seeking to end the conflict in Uganda and arrest war criminal Joseph Kony.
To spread knowledge of Kony, Invisible Children targeted 20 culture makers and 12 policymakers, who spoke and tweeted about the film. Rihanna, Oprah, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift posted comments in their Twitter accounts. Angelina Jolie and George Clooney also supported the campaign.
Since its launch Monday afternoon, the film has generated hundreds of thousand of dollars in donations. YouTube said the popularity was driven by viewers in the U.S. and those younger than 25. Many parents discovered the video only after their children showed it to them.
The co-founder of Invisible Children and American filmmaker who produced the movie, Jason Rusell, 33, frames the story through a conversation with his young son, Gavin. He tells his son he is working to stop "bad guy" Joseph Kony, who gives young boys like Jacob guns and makes them shoot other people. What he could not tell Gavin was that Kony kidnaps and abducts children, turning the girls into sex slaves and turning the boys into his LRA (Lord's Resistance Army) child soldiers. So far, over 30,000 children have been captured by Kony and his army. The LRA leader has stated that he is "not fighting for any cause, but only to maintain his power."
However, accuracy of the facts and how Invisible Children organization spends its money behind the scenes (70% of it is on salaries, travel, filmmaking and marketing) have raised criticism.
Mr. Russell acknowledges that he has not made the most nuanced or academic of films. "No one wants a boring documentary on Africa." "We view ourself as the Pixar of human rights stories," he said. As a filmmaker, he added that he had already received plaudits from producers in Hollywood. They want this to be up for an Oscar."
An expert at Unicef explained that "It's not just one organization in the United States who has discovered this issue. Still, Invisible Children is essentially distilling a very complicated 26-year war into something that's consumable and understandable by mass media.".
Along with sharing the movie online, Invisible Children's call to action is to do three things; 1) sign its pledge, 2) get the Kony 2012 bracelet and action kit ($30), and 3) sign up to donate. Before the film, in 2011, Invisible Children got $9 million.