Saturday, October 3, 2009

Congo in Harlem

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.

During the month of October, the Maysles Cinema presents Congo in Harlem. 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.

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,
Women in War Zones 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.

Selected evenings will feature receptions with Congolese food, drinks, live poetry, dance, and musical performances. Proceeds from the events Congo in Harlem will benefit various organizations working inside Congo.

Throughout the month, a digital of slideshow of A Congo Chronicle: Lumumba in Urban Art, will be projected in the cinema’s community space, courtesy of the Museum for African Art. The space will also be used for the sale of Congo-related books, DVDs, crafts and clothing.

Click here to view schedule of films and other events during Congo Week.