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We Come as Friends is a 2014 Austrian-French documentary film written, directed and produced by Hubert Sauper.[1][2] The film premiered in-competition in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2014.[3][4] It won the Special Jury Award for Cinematic Bravery at the festival.[5][6]

We Come as Friends
We Come as Friends poster.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed byHubert Sauper
Produced byHubert Sauper
Gabriele Kranzelbinder
Written byHubert Sauper
Music bySlim Twig
CinematographyHubert Sauper
Barney Broomfield
Xavier Liébard
Edited byDenise Vindevogel
Adelante Films
Distributed byLe Pacte (France)
Release date
  • 18 January 2014 (2014-01-18) (Sundance)
  • 16 September 2015 (2015-09-16) (France)
Running time
110 minutes

The film also premiered in-competition at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival on February 8, 2014.[7] It won the Peace Film Award at the festival.[8][9]

The film later premiered at 43rd New Directors/New Films Festival on March 20, 2014.[10] The film also premiered at 57th San Francisco International Film Festival on April 25, 2014 in competition for Golden Gate Documentary Feature.[11]



The film focuses on war-ravaged South Sudan fighting for independence from North Sudan and its President Omar al-Bashir.


The film won the Special Jury Award for Cinematic Bravery at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

We Come as Friends received mostly positive reviews upon its premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 97% based on 30 reviews, with an average rating of 8.1/10.[12] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 80 out of 100 from 10 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[13]

Rob Nelson of Variety wrote in his review that We Come as Friends becomes more disturbing as it goes, building to a terrible crescendo in a series of scenes near the end of the film."[14] Boyd van Hoeij in his review for The Hollywood Reporter called the film "A sobering and superbly edited documentary about South Sudan, a country that became independent in 2011 but turns out to be not so independent after all."[15] Dan Schindel from Nonfics praised the film by saying that "A devastating, haunting, but absolutely necessary travelogue of South Sudan. This film is an instructional in how imperialism in Africa has not died off, but merely taken on a new form."[16]

Chuck Bowen of Slant magazine gave the film four out of five stars and said that "We Come As Friends is terrifyingly direct and intimate. Portraying the neocolonialist exploitation of the recently established South Sudan, director Hubert Sauper devises a metaphor that's both risky and brilliantly evocative."[17] In his review for Slug magazine, Cody Kirkland praised the director Sauper by saying that "Hubert Sauper presents a thought-provoking look inside the war-torn and extremely impoverished mother continent" and called the film "a powerful, troubling and possibly life-changing look into the real people involved in this monumental disaster, and the real consequences of economic and cultural imperialism."[4] On December 1, the film was selected as one of 15 shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.[18]


Year Award Category Recipient Result
2014 64th Berlin International Film Festival Peace Film Award Hubert Sauper Won[8][9]
Sundance Film Festival World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary Hubert Sauper Nominated
Special Jury Award for Cinematic Bravery Hubert Sauper Won[5][6]
11th PLANETE+DOC Film Festival Millennium Award Hubert Sauper Won [19]
7th Subversive Film Festival Zagreb Wild Dreamer Award Hubert Sauper Won
18th Jihlava IDFF Best Central and Eastern European Documentary Film Hubert Sauper Won [20]
Vienna International Film Festival Vienna Film Prize for Best Documentary Hubert Sauper Won [21]
European Film Academy European Film Award for Best Documentary Hubert Sauper Nominated
2015 Akademie des Österreichischen Films Austrian Film Award for Best Documentary Hubert Sauper Won [22]
2016 Lumières Awards Best Documentary Hubert Sauper Nominated [23]


  1. ^ "Hubert Sauper flies into South Sudan's reality in 'We Come as Friends'". Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  2. ^ "Hubert Sauper flies into South Sudan's reality in 'We Come as Friends". Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  3. ^ "Sundance 2014: World Cinema Documentary Competition". Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "SUNDANCE FILM REVIEW: WE COME AS FRIENDS". Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Sundance: 'Whiplash' & 'Rich Hill' Win Grand Jury Awards; Dramatic Directing Goes To Cutter Hodierne For 'Fishing Without Nets'". Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  6. ^ a b "'Whiplash' Owns the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Awards Netting Two Top Prizes". Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  7. ^ "IDFA Doc Spotlights Unlikely Dream of a Young Iranian Woman". Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Berlin International Film Festival Awards 2014: 64th Annual Berlinale Winners". Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Documentary on war-ravaged South Sudan wins Peace Prize at 64th Berlinale". Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  10. ^ "Full Lineup Announced for 43rd New Directors/New Films". Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  11. ^ "SFIFF unveils New Directors, GGA". Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  12. ^ "We Come as Friends (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  13. ^ "We Come as Friends Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  14. ^ "Sundance Film Review: 'We Come as Friends'". Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  15. ^ "We Come as Friends: Sundance Review". Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  16. ^ "Sundance 2014: 'We Come As Friends' Review". Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  17. ^ "We Come As Friends FILM REVIEW". Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  18. ^ "15 DOCUMENTARY FEATURES ADVANCE IN 2015 OSCAR® RACE". December 1, 2015. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  19. ^ "Winners of the 11th PLANETE+ DOC FF". Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  20. ^ "Winners of 18th Jihlava IDFF 2014". Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  21. ^ "Vienna Film Prize (Wiener Filmpreis) 2014". Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  22. ^ "Austrian Film Awards 2015". Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  23. ^ "Prix Lumières 2016 : Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse et Mustang en tête des nominations". AlloCiné. 4 January 2016.

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