Ben Affleck is back in the director’s chair.
After directing last year’s feature film Gone Baby Gone, Affleck – who is expecting his second child with wife Jennifer Garner later this month – is debuting a short film called Gimme Shelter, a four-minute documentary about humanitarian issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Affleck, 36, says he made the short “in order to focus attention on the humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) at a time when too much of the world is indifferent or looking the other way.”
He addressed an audience of activists after premiering his documentary Wednesday at the United Nations’s N.Y. headquarters at an event sponsored by the U.N. Refugee Agency, UNHCR.
“We step up when these terrible crises occur,” said Affleck, who has visited the DRC four times in the last year and held discussions with leaders on all sides of the conflict including warlords, peacemakers, activists and government officials.
“I’ve had to be really judicious,” he said. “I got exposed to really smart people. [I’ve had] to give myself a kind of great post-graduate education.”
Affleck noted that organizations like the UNHCR need more funding in light of the financial crisis, and also urged increased diplomacy in the region. “Diplomacy won’t cost us anything,” he said.
He also joked about the UN Refugee Agency’s most visible spokesperson, Angelina Jolie: “UNHCR needs to find a Goodwill Ambassador who can get some sort of press attention,” Affleck said to laughs from the audience.
According to the U.N., more than 5.4 million people have died in the conflict, with millions more displaced from their homes.