Interesting Independent Internet Projects: Expedition Kony

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By Claire Frank

Remember KONY 2012, the short film that caused high school and college students across the nation to passionately put up posters and share videos on Facebook for about a week before fading into obscurity? The campaign to “Stop Kony” passed without comment, and KONY 2012 has become the butt of online jokes, as the world has moved on to bigger and better things.

Well, not everyone has moved on, especially Robert Young Felton. Investigative journalist, writer of 1994 book The World’s Most Dangerous Places, and self-proclaimed adventurer, Felton has teamed up with filmmakers Ross Fenter and Rob Swain to start Dangerous Magazine. The first topic for Dangerous: “Expedition Kony.”

The team will be going to Africa to hunt down the elusive criminal Joseph Kony. In case you have forgotten, Kony is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda, formerly known as the Holy Spirit Movement, a rebel group that opposes Yoweri Museveni’s presidency of Uganda. According to Invisible Children, the organization responsible for KONY 2012, Kony kidnapped over 30,000 Ugandan children and forced them to join the LRA, often making them kill their own families. While there has been debate over whether Kony actually did this, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant in 2005 for Kony and his commanders. Kony and two of the commanders, Dominic Ongwen and Okot Odhiambo, remain at large today.

Here’s the best part. To get the funds to hunt down Kony, the filmmakers have turned to crowdfunding. “Expedition Kony” has been launched on Indiegogo, a crowdfunding website similar to Kickstarter, and only a measly $450,000 needs to be raised. Perks for donating to the campaign include social media updates of the expedition.

For $25,000, backers can actually join the expedition team. Fenter and Swain will be filming the expedition, which will be led by Felton. Four lucky supporters will be chosen to accompany Felton on his mission, while others will make up the forward base, which will be located in Africa and will maintain electricity, food, water, and other supplies for the expedition team.

On the official Indiegogo page, Felton makes claims of tracking Kony since 1993 through his various regional contacts that he gained while researching for his book. He plans to make use of the various networks he supposedly is in contact with. The details of how the team plans to find Kony and what they plan to do if they find him are fuzzy, but the team seems convinced that they will will meet with the right “players” to get the job done.

The campaign has over a month left, and only $8,000 has been donated to the cause so far.