'Johnny Mad Dog', based on the 2002 novel by the US-based Congolese author Emmanuel Dongal, follows a group of child soldiers who have been trained to plunder and murder civilians during the second Liberian civil war. The actors are mostly aged 10 to 15, all were unknowns when cast; some were themselves child soldiers.
Christopher Minie plays one of the child soldiers, 15-year-old Johnny, who - armed to the hilt with an AK47 - is taken over by his violent fantasies of becoming the ultimate 'mad dog'. Daisy Victoria Vandy plays 16-year-old Laokole, who must put her studies aside as she tries desperately to flee the militia-occupied city where she lives with her eight-year-old brother and disabled father.
★★★★★ "Brutal but thrilling, this is an astonishing insight into a conflict waged by feral children" - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian