Congo Rising Welcomes You
We are building the future through film.
We work with pioneering filmmakers in the DR-Congo to restore cinema to the country. (It was lost thirty years ago.)
We use film and the arts to catalyze educational outreach.
The equipment we have purchased is shared by numerous nascent filmmakers in the Congo. This is consistent with our goals to empower teams, not individuals.
How we Choose our Projects
Congo Rising has engaged in multiple educational projects with varying degrees of success.
These are our standards:
We support projects, not individuals.
We insist that the workforce comprise teams which have shown that they work in mutual support and integrity.
All projects must be sustainable. We need to know what the initiatives will look like in five or ten years.
As of June 1, 2020, our focus has turned to a film about Patrice Lumumba, to be shot in his native village and to include his native language, Tetela. Though his political career is significant in this film, we stress his personal life.
Having successfully released our first film in coordination with Bimpa Productions, we are ready to move up to greater goals.
As we have worked in the Sankuru Province, we have noted how important Lumumba is to the people there and how influential his legacy is. We have also shown that we can film in the most rural areas of the DR-C. We filmed scenes for our first film, Heart of Africa near Lumumba's birthplace. Our filmmakers took lighting, cameras, and their strong wills into the deep forest which Lumumba knew as a boy.
Film making provides a road to sharing instruction in anything, insights on everything, and a new lens to see dimensions of beauty--all vital in a post-war situation.
Film training and screening in a country which lost its cinemas thirty years ago
Re-imagining the Congo
1) We seek to show the beauty of the Congo and the strength of its people. Almost all media about the Congo focuses on the country's poverty and violence in the east. There is another story, and we intend to tell it.
2) We believe that Lumumba and his accomplishments will still inspire the people in the Congo--and throughout Africa.
3) In the nearly sixty years since Lumumba's assassination, the Congo has become the poorest country on earth, according to statistics. This is a huge irony, since the resources in the Congo make it the richest in mineral wealth.
4) We believe that Lumumba still has the power to inspire, and that his words and life will offer hope and motivation to bring the best of the Congo into the forefront. It is a new day, and the people are ready for self-direction and a mindset like Lumumba's, which declares that nothing is impossible.
“The day will come when history will speak. But it will not be the history which will be taught in Brussels, Paris, Washington or the United Nations…Africa will write its own history. It will be a history of glory and dignity.”
Who was Patrice Lumumba?
"...the most important black man to ever walk on the African continent." (Malcolm X)
Born poor in a tiny village in the Belgian Congo in 1925, Patrice Lumumba was largely self-educated. He was an illiterate Tetela speaker in his childhood. When he was assassinated on January 17th, 1961, he had mastered five languages and had written speeches and poetry in French as well as Tetela. Protests erupted throughout the world when news of his death surfaced.
Our Most Effective Initiative
We will continue to offer literacy classes, oral history composition, instruction in book binding, and translation of literacy texts via African Storybook, but our experience over the past five years has shown us that film, when initiated and directed by a good team from the Congo itself, has more power than anything else we've done. The people themselves must find their own solutions. We are amazed by the talent and resilience of our partner, Bimpa Production. The team works for the good of all.
The "Heart of Africa" Film project shows that we can support African filmmakers in moving their country towards self-reliance.
Our film, Heart of Africa, made entirely in the DR-Congo by a Congolese film team, had a successful premiere in Kinshasa in February, 2020, followed by a successful premiere in the USA and a theatrical release. Though COVID-19 closed theaters after only a week into our release, our film was the #1 independent film in the USA during its time in theaters. We moved into streaming as the pandemic kept theaters closed. It continues to be successful. More importantly, it kick-started the cinema industry in the DR-C.
Because it generates a sustainable industry and fosters imagination.
The DR-C is listed as the poorest country in the world, yet young filmmakers have already begun to build a film industry--without good equipment or infrastructure. We have seen the film industry thrive in other African countries and are honored to help catalyze its rise in the Congo.
Team in the Congo
Our team in the Congo is committed to establishing cinema in their country, to training nascent filmmakers, running an annual film festival, and taking film into the far reaches of the Congo. Long-term goals include the establishment of a film school and an arts-based university. For now, the objective is to provide education and inspiration to the whole country through film.