Congo in Harlem Film Festival

New York, NY (PressExposure) October 05, 2009 -- Congo in Harlem Filim Festival at the Maysles Cinema

This October, the Maysles Cinema presents Congo in Harlem, a month-long series of film screenings accompanied by special events, panel discussions, performances, and receptions. Congo in Harlem will provide audiences with more than the traditional movie-going experience -- it will offer opportunities to discover Congolese culture, learn about the ongoing humanitarian crisis, engage in dialog, and get involved.

The conflict raging in Democratic Republic of Congo is the deadliest humanitarian crisis since World War II. It has taken nearly 6 million lives since 1996, most of them women and children. But despite the vast human toll, most Americans are still unfamiliar with the conflict, and even less so with Congo's vibrant culture and traditions.

October 18th - 24th marks International Congo Week, a worldwide initiative to join in solidarity with the people of Congo in breaking the silence about the conflict. Congo in Harlem will coincide with this initiative, and offer a critical venue for reflection, discussion, and action.

The films programmed in this series are intended to educate, inspire, provoke, and entertain. They present a broad range of subjects and experiences from important and often underrepresented voices. There are historical investigations of Congo's heroes and despots (Lumumba; Mobutu, King of Zaire; and Congo: White King, Red Rubber, Black Death); intimate accounts of the current conflict (Lumo and Reporter); rare glimpses of the colonial era (Matamata/Pilipili and Pygmy Thrills); celebrations of Congolese artists and musicians (Jupiter's Dance and Afro@Digital); and films made by established and emerging Congolese directors (La Vie Est Belle and Yole!Africa Shorts Program). Most screenings will be accompanied by panel discussions, featuring the filmmakers, experts, and activists.

On selected evenings, the screenings will be followed by receptions featuring Congolese food, drinks, live poetry, dance, and musical performances. Proceeds from the events Congo in Harlem will benefit various organizations working inside Congo.

For the entire month of October, the downstairs community space at the Maysles Cinema will be converted into a gallery featuring the artwork of Congolese artists. The space will also be used for the sale of Congo-related books, DVDs, crafts, and clothing.

Series Partners: Friends of the Congo, Goma Film Project, HEAL Africa, Human Rights Watch, Goma Film Project, V-Day, Yole!Africa.

Screenings are open to the public at the suggested (but not required) donation of $10. - The Maysles Cinema: The Best Spot for Film Geeks "For a $7 suggested donation per screening, you can catch rarely seen documentaries, often followed by discussions and/or appearances by the filmmakers.What it lacks in stadium seating and surround sound, it makes up in sheer character and inventive programming."

- New York Magazine (2009 Best of New York)

Please direct all press and requests for reservations to

Congo in Harlem Series Schedule

Friday, October 2 Presented by Human Rights Watch Lumumba (2000) Dir. Raoul Peck The true story of the rise to power and brutal assassination of the formerly vilified and later redeemed leader of independent Congo, Patrice Lumumba. Panel discussion and reception to follow screening

Saturday, October 3 Yole!Africa Program (2009) Dir. Ndaliko Katondolo A collection of short films created by dynamic young Congolese filmmakers from Yole!Africa, a local community arts organization based in Goma, DR Congo. Panel discussion and reception to follow screening

Friday, October 9 Congo: White King, Red Rubber, Black Death (2003) Dir. Peter Bate 84 min. A harrowing investigation of how King Leopold II of Belgium acquired Congo as a colony and exploited it by reign of terror.

Saturday, October 10 Co-presented by Human Rights Watch and HEAL Africa Lumo (2007) 72 min. Filmmakers: Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt, Nelson Walker, Lynn True, Louis Abelman An intimate portrait of Lumo Sinai, a young Congolese woman on an uncertain road to recovery at a unique hospital for rape survivors. Panel discussion and reception to follow screening

Sunday, October 18 Mobutu, King of Zaire (1999) Dir. Thierry Michel 135 min. Following two years of investigation, this documentary charts the amazing life Congo's eponymous dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko.

Monday, October 19 Presented by Friends of the Congo *Katanga Business (2009)* (unconfirmed) Dir. Thierry Michel 120 min. A real-world economic thriller about the mining industry in Katanga Province, where cobalt, uranium and copper are crucial to multinationals and growing countries like India and China. Although it is one of the world's richest regions in mining resources, the inhabitants of Katanga continue to live in extreme poverty.

Tuesday, October 20 Matamata & Pilipili (1997) Dir. Tristan Bourland 58 min. A rare glimpse at some of the earliest films shot in Congo, revealing the complex terrain of colonial relationships, media representations, and popular culture.

Pygmy Thrills (1930s) Dir. Eugene W. Castle 10 min. An amazing study of a pygmy community building a vine-bridge 50 feet above a crocodile infested river. Warner Herzog cites this film as the impetus for embarking on a career in film.

Wednesday, October 21 Afro@Digital(2003) Dir. Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda 52 min. An exploration of how digital technology is changing the landscape of African art and culture, and how it can be used to serve the interest of Africa at large.

Thursday, October 22 Jupiter's Dance (2006) Dir. Renaud Barret and Florent de La Tullaye 73 min. An exhilarating jaunt through the streets of Kinshasa to meet musicians who struggle to emerge from the chaos. Jupiter, the charismatic leader of the band Okwess International, serves as the film's guide as he describes his city and his long battle to break out of the ghetto with his music.

Friday, October 23 La Vie Est Belle (Life is Rosy) (1987) Dir. Mweze Ngangura and Benoit Lamy 80 min. Legendary Congolese musician Papa Wemba plays a poor country boy with music in his heart and big dreams. He travels to the city, where he falls in love with second wife of a prominent club owner. Can he win her hand and fulfill his dreams of being as singer?

Saturday, October 24 Reporter (2009) Dir. Eric Daniel Metzgar Reporter Nicholas Kristof travels to the Democratic Republic of Congo to investigate the growing humanitarian crisis. Panel discussion and reception to follow screening

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Press Release Submitted On: October 05, 2009 at 11:20 am
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