About this project
INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR, DANIEL MCCABE
a feature documentary by Daniel McCabe
slated for release 2013
After nearly 3 years of filming and research, the film makers present an in-depth exploration of the fight for the DRC’s vast mineral wealth and natural resources. Battles are waged daily by those who will kill to plunder the country’s rare metals and other natural bounty, which ends up in the hands of western end users. Eastern Congo is an area where an estimated 1,500 people die each day as victims of war, where rape and child combatants have reached epidemic proportions. THIS IS CONGO will document one of the key aspects of violent conflict in the Congo; it’s resource wars. Showing the direct link between the continued violence in eastern Congo and the consumer products that are manufactured today. From raw materials to war, it will provide a looking glass view into the human costs of an unregulated international market for Congo’s valuable natural resources as seen through the eyes of our Congolese characters. It will also testify to the need for finding a realistic and enduring solution to over a decade of violent conflict.
Along the way THIS IS CONGO will give viewers insight into the reality of this complex situation; informing them of the efforts being made to prevent this ongoing conflict. It will explore the causes of media blackouts and why the world’s largest assembled peacekeeping mission MONUSCO has been rendered useless. It will also show how no single initiative alone can change things, as well as what the components of a working solution may be. Explaining the delicate combination of transparency and demilitarization of the mining industry, coupled with massive government reform. Showing how rehabilitation of the shell-shocked population and their infrastructure is needed in addition to international support, will inform the viewer where help is needed most. Beginning with these resources in their raw form and following the extraction, transport and smuggling process through to the end-user’s cell phone, engagement ring or automobile, this film completes the circle in this violent chain by following the stories of individual characters that are affected along the way. Exposing the reality of the products most own today, and the relationship to the current situation in Eastern Congo.
IN THE NEWS
The current situation in the DRC is growing more volatile by the day. Though humanitarian initiatives have increased in the afflicted areas, all of them have been rendered useless due to instability and corruption. Media blackouts prevent any real reporting of the situation. Every now and then we see the Congo pop up on the airwaves only to disappear just as quickly. For people to become truly informed about the depth of the conflict, exactly what the issues are and how difficult they are to deal with, they need to be approached from a different angle. THIS IS CONGO will provide a looking glass view into the lives of the characters involved, both aggressors and victims. It follows these lifelines as they helix around the root of all these issues; Resources flowing from the mines deep in the jungles of the Congo to the outside world. This chain is what keeps the big business of war fueled in the Congo. In recent weeks, a rapidly amassing rebel group called "M23" has forcefully taken power in major eastern cities, including Goma, the most resource rich area and the gateway for smugglers in to neighboring Uganda/Rawanda. It's no secret that these neighboring countries are funding this rebel group for obvious reasons - control over the minerals. Our team has built close relationships with top officials on both sides and will be documenting these historic events as they unfold from every angle while M23 threatens to march on the capitol if the Congolese government fails to initiate peace talks.
BECOME A SUPPORTER
We’re hoping to raise $30,000 on Kickstarter to assist our team in the field as they continue shooting amongst these harsh conditions over the holidays. After being away from friends, family and loved ones for upwards of 6 months we would like to ensure that they are able to stay safe as they continue to follow our characters through these hard times. This will be the 2nd consecutive Christmas that our crew has spent in the DRC. We plan to wrap up principle photography early in 2013 and move full-swing in to post. The film will be finished by late summer / early fall, 2013.
We hope you’ll consider making a pledge!
Whether it’s $5, $25, $100, $1000 or more, your contribution will help us to complete THIS IS CONGO and to bring this humanitarian crisis before an international audience in the hopes to educate and raise awareness.
HELP US SPREAD THE WORD
Whether or not you make a pledge, you can still help by spreading the word on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other social media.
DONATION VS INVESTMENT
Film is a high-risk venture. Investors don’t usually invest in documentary films to get rich, they invest to be around the excitement of filmmaking, to go to festivals, to support important issues that they care deeply about, and to nurture culture by supporting one of the most powerful storytelling mediums of our time. Other people donate to films for the same reasons, but as part of their personal charitable giving and for tax deductions at the end of the year. All donations made to this film will be considered charitable and will be tax deductible minus the 5% Kickstarter take and minus the value of your rewards, through our fiscal sponsor, Fractured Atlas who maintains 501 (c) 3 status. Email email@example.com if you would like more info.
INTERESTED IN PLAYING AN EVEN LARGER ROLE IN THE FILM?
We are always interested in collaborating and partnering with like-minded activists. If you would like to become involved on a deeper level or if you have anything you think you can bring to the table that could be valuable to this production, we would be happy to hear from you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.
REACH OUT AND CONTACT US!
Shortcut Films Inc.
+1 (323) 719-7919 / email@example.com
Writer/Director - Daniel McCabe
Daniel McCabe, born in Woodstock, NY. Graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY with a BFA in Photography and Film. He started his journalistic career taking a staff news photographer position in one of New York’s daily newspapers and has also worked in the commercial and fashion industries shooting both stills and video. He began his freelance career documenting gang and prison related issues in Honduras, moving on to projects such as Kenya’s post-election violence, resource based conflict in Eastern DRC, Haiti’s 2010 earthquake and HIV in South Africa’s slums Khayelitsha and Cape Flats. Currently McCabe covers conflict and resource issues in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2010 Daniel received AOL’s groundbreaking innovator grant, 25 for 25, for his projects in DR Congo and is currently shooting and directing a feature length documentary film on the resource wars of eastern DR Congo. Daniel splits his time between Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Hudson, NY and is represented by REDUX PICTURES.
Editor/Co-Writer - Alyse Ardell Spiegel
Alyse Ardell Spiegel is an award-winning film, television, and commercial editor whose credits include the acclaimed feature documentary Crude by Joe Berlinger, as well as Unraveled, directed by Marc Simon. Her latest work, Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory was nominated for Best Documentary feature at the 84th Academy Awards. Spiegel's television credits include Demi Lovato: Stay Strong, a documentary for MTV, Top Ten Monks, a documentary short for HBO, multiple episodes of Oprah Presents: Master Class for OWN, as well as VH-1’s multi-part series The Drug Years and And You Don’t Stop: 30 Years of Hip Hop with renowned filmmakers Hart & Dana Perry. Spiegel's commercial editing work includes the Emmy-nominated PSA's for Bono's ONE campaign to end poverty, and the Clio-winning web series "Bold Moves" for the Ford Motor Company. Spiegel speaks fluent Spanish, and has worked in Cuba, South Africa, and multiple other locations. She lives in New York City.
Producer - Geoff McLean
Geoff has produced hundreds of commercial and music video campaigns for international clients, agencies, labels and artists in a wide variety of locations around the world. He has been involved in countless award winning projects and was nominated for a Grammy in 2010. He has also produced several festival films including DEADMAN – a co-production with the National Film Board of Canada which was an official selection at TIFF. Geoff is also the founder of Vision Film Co, one of the industry’s leading commercial and music video production companies. He currently resides in Los Angeles.
Field Producer - Horeb Bulambo
Born in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 1970. He attended College Mwanga majoring in Literature, Latin and Philosophy, continuing his education at the Uganda School of Media majoring in Photography and Video Production. In 2000 Horeb began working as Communications Officer for ACPN (Community Action for the Protection of Nature) in conjunction with the Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund, where he managed relations between the organization and local populations. From 2002 to 2009 he worked at World Vision organization as Communications Officer, specializing in hostile environments, moving on to become the senior trainer of World Vision field staff in Crisis and Conflict Management. His responsibilities at World Vision include multimedia production, national and international media relations as well as organizing and executing field operations within DRC. In 2009 Horeb became MONUSCO’s (largest UN peacekeeping mission in the world) lead reporter, traveling to remote areas of DRC providing on camera reports of UN field operations (MONUSCO Realite), appearing on several national television channels as well as radio to inform and update the nations population on the United Nations peace keeping mission’s progress. Currently Horeb works as a freelance communications specialist and reporter for international film and media organizations, and is an independent film producer/director, winning Best Narrative Film in 2008 at the Picha Film Festival (largest in DRC) in Lubumbashi, DRC for his film RACIAL PREJUDICE. In his travels Horeb has visited all 11 provinces of DRC and 17 African countries, he speaks 8 languages including French, English and Latin as well as worked in every major conflict zone within DRC since 1996. Horeb is currently based in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo with his wife and three children.
Executive Producer - Karol Martesko-Fenster
Karol is an Austrian-born American entrepreneur. His career in the motion picture, broadcasting, publishing, and Internet business spans over two decades and includes leadership in the American independent film industry. Karol has provided strategic consulting services to numerous film and media ventures, produced 8 feature films and over 20 music television and satellite programs, and he co-founded FILMMAKER Magazine and RES Magazine and the media content enterprises indieWIRE.com, CINELAN.com, conditionone.com and Thought Engine | Media Group. Currently President, Film & Media for S2BN Entertainment, Karol was previously SVP&GM / Film at Babel Networks, Head of Film at Chris Blackwell's Palm Pictures, President of RES Media Group and President/Publisher of Silicon Alley Reporter. Most recently, Karol collaborated with Harry Belafonte and Michael Cohl on SING YOUR SONG and was executive producer on Phil Cox’s THE BENGALI DETECTIVE, James Allen Smith’s FLOORED, and Danfung Dennis’ 2012 Academy Award Nominee HELL AND BACK AGAIN.
Risks and challenges
As is with most documentary projects, the greatest challenge is the unknown. Searching out characters and stories "on the fly" that will eventually equate to a captivating (and educational) story is always a trying process. Even more-so when working in conflict zones such as the DRC. Add to that a harsh jungle climate and terrain (including active volcanoes) and you can only imagine the hurdles that our team has and will continue to over come. The best and sometimes only solution is time. The longer we can allow our team to stay in the field, the deeper they will get and the more trusting and open our characters will become. So it's of the upmost importance and our #1 priority to give them the means to achieve just that. Time. No other film crew has put the level of commitment in to telling these stories and bringing these issues in front of a larger audience. This is where your support comes in to play - with your assistance we plan to create the most comprehensive film on the Congolese conflict which will act as a valuable educational tool for years to come. The first step to finding a realistic and enduring resolution to such a conflict is awareness. Without it, the perpetual cycle will continue and the Congolese people will continue suffer.
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