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This is Congo

Producers Geoff McLean, Alyse Ardell Spiegel, Daniel McCabe


Why is it that some countries seem to be continually mired in cyclical wars, political in- stability and economic crises?

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is one such a place, a mineral-rich Central African country that, over the last two decades, has seen more than five million conflict-related deaths, multiple regime changes and the wholesale impoverishment of its people. Yet though this ongoing conflict is the world’s bloodiest since WWII, little is known in the West about the players or stakes involved.

For the first time, This is Congo provides an immersive and unfiltered look into the world’s longest continuing conflict and those who are surviving within it. By following four compelling characters — a whistleblower, a patriotic military commander, a mineral dealer and a displaced tailor — the film offers viewers a truly Congolese perspective on the problems that plague this lushly beautiful nation. Colonel ‘Kasongo’, Mamadou, Ma- ma Romance and Hakiza exemplify the unique resilience of a people who have lived and died through the generations due to the cycle of brutality generated by this conflict. Though their paths never physically cross, the ongoing conflict reverberates across all of their lives.

When This is Congo begins in 2012, Rwandan and Ugandan-backed M23 rebels have begun massing in the North Kivu region of Congo, threatening peace and stability. As the film progresses, we watch as the rebellion mounts in intensity and witness its effects on the film’s four major characters firsthand, while flashing back to key moments in Congo’s his- tory. By the film’s conclusion, three years later, This is Congo has documented this lat- est cycle of violence from beginning to end and thoroughly unpacked the legacies of colo- nialism, resource exploitation and genocide that helped make the Congo what it is today.

In November 2016, after fifteen years in power, President Joseph Kabila cancelled elections extending his rule beyond term limits– and the cycle of war is likely to start again.

About The Team

Daniel McCabe (Director, Cinematographer, Producer) is a cinematographer, photographer and director based in New York and The Democratic Republic of Congo. His work has appeared in National Geographic, the New York Times, BBC, Al Jazeera and CNN among others. This is Congo is Daniel’s first feature-length documentary. Daniel is represented by Redux Pictures for his photographic work.

Geoff McLean (Producer) has produced hundreds of commercial and music video projects for A-list artists and clients around the world. In 2006, he founded Vision Film Co, which represents leading short-form directorial talents having worked with artists such as Rihanna, The Weeknd, Calvin Harris, Lana Del Rey and for clients like Adidas, Jeep, Coca-Cola and Budweiser. In 2010, he was nominated for a Grammy for his work with Feist. He is the producer of Deadman, a co-production with the National Film Board of Canada, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. He is also one of the Executive Producers of Grave Encounters, which was voted by Forbes magazine as one of the top 10 scariest horror films and The Visitors, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in 2014 and was acquired by IFC. Along with Untitled Congo Project, he is currently producing Hondros: A Life in Frames and has several narrative projects in development.

Alyse Ardell Spiegel (Editor, Producer) is an award-winning documentary film, television and commercial editor based in New York. Her credits include Joe Berlinger’s Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (HBO), which was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 2012 Academy Awards. Her first feature as an editor, the award-winning Crude, also directed by Berlinger, premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Her other feature work includes The Project (2013 Tribeca Film Festival) and Unraveled (Showtime). Spiegel’s television credits include the Emmy-nominated series Oprah’s Masterclass (OWN), Demi Lovato: Stay Strong (MTV), and Tope Ten Monks (HBO). A fluent Spanish speaker, she has worked in Cuba, South Africa, and across North America.

Horeb Bulambo (Field Producer) is a freelance communications specialist and reporter for international film and media organizations. Horeb attended College Mwanga, majoring in Literature and Philosophy, and the Uganda School of Media, majoring in Photography and Video Production. In 2000, Horeb worked for the Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund managing relations between the organization and local populations and for World Vision as a Communications Officer, specializing in hostile environments. In 2009, Horeb became MONUSCO’s (UN peace-keeping mission to the DR Congo) lead reporter, traveling to remote areas of DRC to provide on-camera reports for UN field operations. He is also an independent film director and producer, winning Best Narrative Film in 2008 at the Picha Film Festival in Lubumbashi, DRC for his film Racial Prejudice. Horeb speaks eight languages including French, English, and Latin and has worked in every major DRC conflict zone since 1996.