Congo in Harlem is a weeklong program of films and special events focused on the history, politics, and culture of the Democratic Republic Congo. The goal of the series is to deepen the global community’s understanding of DR Congo through art and dialogue. Each year, we strive to present a diverse program that encourages audiences to think critically and challenge their own assumptions about Africa. But we also want people to have an enjoyable experience! Congo in Harlem is more than just movies and discussions — it’s an opportunity to discover Congolese food, music, and artwork, learn about Congo’s challenges, and get involved in efforts for change in the Congo. Highlights from this year’s program include a spotlight on pioneering Congolese filmmaker Mweze Ngangura who will be in attendance, as well as a range of films from Congolese and international directors, live music and special guests.
Congo in Harlem is a volunteer-run, non-profit series produced by MayslesCinema, True-Walker Productions, and Friends of the Congo. It is made possible by the generous support of Cultures of Resistance Network and V-DAY. Series Partners and Friends include: Elokomakasi, Mutaani FM, The New York African Film Festival, MFA Social Documentary Film program – School of Visual Arts, V-DAY – Harlem, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – NY Metro Branch, United Methodist Women (UMW), and Yole!Africa. Media partners include Applause Africa, Face2Face Africa, OkayAfrica and WBAI.
Screenings are open to the public at a suggested donation of $10. Box office opens 1 hour prior to show time and advance tickets are available through Brown Paper tickets. A special group discount is available for the purchase of 5 or more tickets to any one screening. Series passes for access to all events throughout the week are $50.
Seating is limited and available on a first come first served basis. We recommend arriving 30 minutes before event’s start time to secure a seat in the main screening room. Overflow seating with simulcast projection will be available for latecomers.
Friday, October 18th, 7:00pm
SocDoc at the School of Visual Arts
136 West 21st Street
(Special off-site event)
Off-site Panel: Art and Media in Congo
Six internationally acclaimed artists with recent or in-progress works in Congo come together to discuss their processes, perspectives and interests in Congo as a site of art production.
Sunday, October 20th, 12:00pm
Film Voyagers Children’s Program:
Bobo & Kipi4 episodes, 50 min. total
Join Bobo the bonobo, Kipi the okapi, and their many friends in their magical village in Congo and discover an extraordinary world where every adventure offers a unique opportunity to learn. Bobo & Kipi is a fun-filled, action-packed, music-laden children’s TV show incorporating puppets, animation and live-action.
***Opening Night Celebration***
Mabele Na Biso(Our Land)
Petna Katondolo, 2013, 33 min.
French and Swahili w/English subtitles
‘Aid’ and ‘Independence’ are terms that riddle the rhetoric of Western engagement with and imagination of Africa. But what is independence in our increasingly globalized world? Mabele Na Biso (“Our Land”) takes us on a journey through time and space to explore one region’s commitment to autonomy and self-determination. Through the unlikely story of a radio station that has been modified to run on a generator fueled by locally produced palm oil, we see a different story of African independence – one rooted in a history of defiance that has become a model of community engagement.
Monday, October 21st, 7:30pm
Berlin 1885: The Division of Africa
Joel Calmettes, 2011, 84 min.
French w/ English subtitles
In 1885, representatives from the Great Powers of Europe came together in Berlin to set up guidelines for the division, colonization and economic exploitation of the continent of Africa. No African representatives were invited. Central to the negotiations of the “Berlin Conference on Africa” was the establishment of Congo as a free trade zone under the personal rule of Kind Leopold II of Belgium. Rich archival and scholarly material, plus dramatic reenactments based on transcripts of the Conference proceedings provide an insightful window into the events that would launch the Scramble for Africa and a turning point for millions by the hands of a few.
Tuesday, October 22nd, 7:30pm
The Irresistible Rise of Moise Katumbi
Thierry Michel, 2013, 83 min.
French and Swahili w/ English subtitles
Wealthy Congolese businessman, Moïse Katumbi, is not only governor of the African province of Katanga, rich in precious minerals, but also president of the area’s famous soccer team, “TP Mazembe.” Media, sport, politics and business are all the ingredients of the cocktail concocted by this new African messiah named Moïse. He is the symbol of a new leadership that gains power through ballot boxes and elections, as well as being a symbol of a democracy based on business and populism. A rival of Congo’s President, Joseph Kabila, will Moïse one day be elected the country’s leader?
Wednesday, October 23rd, 7:30pm
Documentary Shorts Showcase:
A collection of short documentary films by Congolese directors
Mweze Ngangura, 1982, 26 min.
French and Lingala w/English subtitles
Philippe Cordey, 2013, 25 min.
Paul Shemisi, 2013, 15 min.
French and Lingala w/ English subtitles
Followed by post-screening discussion with director Mweze Ngangura.
Thursday, October 24th, 7:30pm
Co-presented by California NewsreelPièces d’Identité (Pieces of Identity)Mweze Ngangura, 1998, 93 min.
French w/ English subtitles
A Congolese king arrives Brussels in search of his long-lost daughter. What masquerades as a simple fable raises some of the most troubling issues of identity facing people of African descent in the ever-widening Diaspora of the late 20th century.
Friday, October 25th, 7:30pm
Vol Spécial (Special Flight)
Fernand Melgar, 2011, 100 min.
French w/ English subtitles
Each year, thousands of men and women in Switzerland are imprisoned without trial or sentence. Simply because they stay in the country illegally, they may be deprived of liberty for up to eighteen months before being deported. Filmmaker Fernand Melgar immersed himself for 9 months in the administrative detention centre Frambois in Geneva, one of the 28 deportation centers for the paperless in Switzerland, many of whom have been established in Switzerland for years. From Jeton, a Kosovo Roma refugee, to Serge from Congo, they pay their social insurance contributions and send their children to school… until the day the immigration authorities arbitrarily decide to imprison them to ensure their departure. The problem is that no inmate is willing to leave the country voluntarily. Thus begins a relentless administrative procedure to force them to leave.
Saturday, October 26th, 3:00pm
Panel Discussion: United Nations Peace Framework
On February 24, 2013, eleven African nations came together in Addis Ababa to sign the UN-drafted Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement in a new effort to bring stability to the Great Lakes region. A response to escalated violence in eastern Congo, the Framework Agreement outlines mechanisms aimed at addressing both regional and national obstacles to peace. But after 14 years of the UN mission in Congo, how is this initiative different from past efforts? How will this peace agreement work alongside current military actions and political negotiations? What are the effects on the local population? A special panel of experts with extensive experience in the Great Lakes region will offer their perspectives and answer audience questions.
Saturday, October 26th, 7:30pm
La Vie Est Belle (Life is Rosy)
Mweze Ngangura and Benoit Lamy, 1987, 80 min.
French w/ English subtitles
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?
Sunday, October 27th, 12:00pm
Film Voyagers Children’s Program (Encore Presentation)
Bobo & Kipi
4 episodes, 50 min. total
Join Bobo the bonobo, Kipi the okapi and their many friends in their magical village in Congo and discover an extraordinary world where every adventure offers a unique opportunity to learn. Bobo & Kipi
is a fun-filled, action-packed, music-laden chidren’s TV show incorporating puppets, animation and live-action.
Sunday, October 27th, 3:00pm
Fiction Shorts Showcase:
Three short films by emerging Congolese directors from Kinsasha.
In French, Lingala and Swahili w/ English subtitles.
Clarisse Muvuba Mwimbu, 2012, 24 min.
Lingala, Tshiluba, Français, Kikongo w/English subtitles + Others TBA.