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Have you ever wondered what happens after activism explodes across Facebook and YouTube? We saw it firsthand. Now we want to show you.
187 backers pledged $16,656 to help bring this project to life.

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"Why do you call it Obama's Law," I asked one of the miners we met in eastern Congo. "We say Obama's Law because the law that stopped the mining here came from America", he answered.

The Dodd Frank Act is a U.S. law predominantly addressing Wall Street reform, containing section 1502 on conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This section was borne out of passionate activism across the States. In this video, Director Seth Chase explains more:

* A quick note: the DRC is a French-speaking country and so a large part of our audience are French speakers. In order to include our French-speaking audience in the campaign we translated our rewards into French in each category. So, for our French-speaking friends: Pour nos amis francophones: s'il vous plaît, veuillez regarder la vidéo de Guillaume ci-dessous et choisissez parmi les contributions/récompenses mentionnées en français (à droite)".*

Our documentary explores the results of the activism aimed at the DRC. Have you ever wondered what happens after activism explodes across Facebook and YouTube? We wanted to find out and then show you. There are no "good guys" and "bad guys". This film is more intelligent than that.

Seth Chase exiting a newly dug Cassiterite Mine, Nyabibwe. DRC
Seth Chase exiting a newly dug Cassiterite Mine, Nyabibwe. DRC

A recent advocacy campaign in America connects the war in the Congo to the cell phone in your pocket and is representative of a new form of celebrity-led activism with the goal of a policy response. We've found that well-intentioned activism can create a lot of problems for people on the ground in the Congo, where it's aimed. We posted a series of videos from Congolese experts who talk about this very phenomenon on our website www.obamaslaw.com. As we mentioned, this campaign led to the Dodd Frank Act containing section 1502 on conflict minerals being passed in Washington. Our film explores what happened on the ground in the Congo as this law was implemented from the perspective of miners, families, community leaders, civil society activists, and businessmen and businesswomen involved in Congolese mining.

Chin Chang is one of the miners we met. Check him out in the video below. How can you not love this guy? There are a million more like him!

We were motivated to make this film because we didn't have good answers to the following questions: What are the real life consequences of this law on the ground? What are the consequences for smartphone users like you and I who want to know that the gadgets we are using are conflict free? What happens to the trillion-dollar mining industry? Who does the law benefit and who does it hurt?

Ben Radely and Sofia Warttmann prep for interview with three women who carry minerals out of the mines
Ben Radely and Sofia Warttmann prep for interview with three women who carry minerals out of the mines

Section 1502 of Dodd Frank is currently under review in Washington, has been passed in Canada, and is under consideration for adoption by the European Commission in 2014. More and more countries are gaining interest in the issue. Policy-makers and private sector stakeholders are learning that a more nuanced global debate on conflict mineral legislation is necessary. And we believe Congolese civil society must be heard on policy that has such a massive impact in their own country.

The film will also show how to support and promote sustainable socio-economic improvements in areas of the world affected by conflict. 

Seth Chase and Ben Radley capturing artisinal miners in action
Seth Chase and Ben Radley capturing artisinal miners in action

We've completed a shoot in the Congo as well as in Europe. These funds will get us through our second shoot in the Congo and our final shoot in America. We're happy to email you our budget if you'd like to see the financial breakdown. Our website gives a comprehensive view of our project and its impact to date.

We can't thank you enough for checking us out. It means a lot to us.

Risks and challenges

In the DRC there are always levels of resistance when engaged on a politically sensitive issue like mining because it relates to issues of corruption and human rights abuses within the ranks of local governing authorities, chiefs of local mining groups, police, and rebel groups. This being said, we have lived and worked in the region for several years and during that time we’ve developed effective local networks that enable us to secure the required permits to film and move within the region in relative safety and security. We have unique access to the subject matter in the DRC through our professional experiences in the country. Ben Radley has worked on miners' rights in the DRC for the last two years. Seth Chase and Guillaume de Brier have large networks within documentary media in the African Great Lakes region as a whole. These networks includes full access to miners and mining cooperatives, civil society leaders, government officials, mining experts, and academics. We have already interviewed many of these key actors. Additionally, because Seth Chase is American, he can access the policy makers and activists in the United States engaged on the issue, many of whom we already have established relationships with through our past work. We are currently in communication with several of these contacts in preparation for a two-week shoot on the East Coast in March, 2014. Last June we successfully conducted our primary film shoot in eastern Congo, which proceeded successfully and without incident. With your help, we can finish our final shoot in eastern Congo as well as remaining film shoot in the U.S.

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    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    Five original songs from local East African musicians, you can't find this music unless you live here. A few musicians are featured in the soundtrack of the film, and the rest are just local favorites. For our French-speaking friends: cinq chansons originales d’Afrique! Impossible de les trouver autrement qu’en venant les chercher au Congo!

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Get the DVD or MP4 download of the film plus the music with a personal thank you note. We appreciate that you really believe in the project. Shipping fees only apply if you choose the DVD. For our French-speaking friends: en plus de ce qui précède, vous recevez un DVD avec un remerciement personnalisé. On apprécie vraiment que vous croyiez au projet!

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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    Get your name on our film, plus all of the above. Choose this reward and we put your name in the credits of our film. Claim your place in the movement to bring Congolese experts into the international discourse that affects policy in their country. For our French-speaking friends: en plus de ce qui précède, votre nom apparait au générique! Merci de soutenir le film!

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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    Your own interview! Plus all of the above. Which questions would you ask a young Congolese man or woman? Do you know how much a smartphone costs? How do you see your kids' future? If you could choose any job in the world, what would you do and where would you go? What would you ask? Choose who you interview from a male or female miner or civil society activist, send us your questions, and we'll make an exclusive video for you asking the questions you've always wondered about. These guys are hard to get to, so this is a golden opportunity! For our French-speaking friends: en plus de ce qui précède, vous interviewiez vous-même un(e) jeune du Congo ! Un mineur ? Un activiste ? Envoyez nous les questions et nous ferons une vidéo exclusive pour vous.

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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    One limited edition photographic print or a limited edition poster, plus all of the above. These gifts are great for ambiance and will give your office, entertainment room, bedroom, or any room an edgy Africa vibe. We know you'll love it. Choose the photo from a selection on our website on our "print photos" tab. We'll add a few more before the film is completed so check our website before May to see more options. For our French-speaking friends: en plus de ce qui précède, vous recevrez un poster ou une photo prise pendant le tournage (édition limitée).

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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    Two VIP passes to our premiere, plus all of the above. You can choose which premiere: The USA premiere in NY or the Europe premiere in either Brussels or Berlin (we're firming up the locations early next year). Dates and times TBA. We'll give you advanced notice. We can't provide transport or accommodation but you will get the red carpet experience with photos, cool bubbly, and an unforgettable evening. For our French-speaking friends: en plus de ce qui précède, 2 entrées VIP pour la Première soit à New York, soit à Bruxelles ou Berlin (ce sera confirmé début 2014). Les dates et les lieux sont encore à confirmer. Malheureusement, on ne peut pas assurer votre transport, mais vous vivrez l’expérience du tapis rouge!

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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER credit in the film, plus all of the above. Your name will be on all of the film's packaging and on IMDB. Welcome to the film biz. For our French-speaking friends: en plus de ce qui précède, vous êtes credité comme Producteur executive. Votre nom apparait dans les crédits du film et sur IMDB. Evidemment, vous recevez aussi les musique et le DVD. Bienvenue dans le monde du cinéma.

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    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    You will be invited to join our crew in the Congo during the final stretch of principle photography, plus all of the above. Come meet the crew and characters face to face and witness the striking beauty of the Congolese countryside and its people first hand. It's Congo so things don't always go according to plan but we'll take you to areas you couldn't get to yourself. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity! Flights not included. Please contact us if you are thinking about this reward and will give you more details.

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Funding period

- (33 days)