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pale peko bantu ii

documentary by Bram Van Paesschen

SAVAGEFILM 2 Square Sans-Souci 1050 Brussels, Belgium Contact: Bart Van Langendonck +32 476 551153 bart@savagefilm.be www.savagefilm.be

Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bram Van Paesschen Producers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bart Van Langendonck (Savage Film, Belgium) DOP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Emmanuel Gras Duration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90’ (second part of 2 x 90’, also available in 4 x 45’) Format . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . digital video – color Budget . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . approx. 170.000 E Shooting Schedule . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . January 2010 With the support of the Media Development Program of the E.U. and Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF).

Pitch One Year after ‘Pale Peko Bantu I’ (selected for IDFA ’08), director Bram Van Paesschen returns to Kolwezi. This time he meets and films the people who are reconstructing the town. Like Arthur, the Congolese version of a cowboy, and a Chinese immigrant who is constructing the road between Kolwezi and Lubumbashi. A confronting and honest account of a rich region and its poor people, powerless to change anything because of a failed colonization and decolonization: ruthless globalization.

savagefilm savage PRODUCTIONS bvba


pale peko bantu ii

documentary by Bram Van Paesschen SYNOPSIS Kolwezi, a town in the south-east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its roads are full of potholes. During the rainy season these holes are transformed into huge puddles. Today the houses, built by the Belgians in colonial style, aren’t much more then slums. But it wasn’t always like that, says Isaac in the voice-over when he speaks of the town where he was born, grew up in, lived and eventually died an early death. Once Kolwezi was the jewel in the crown of the Belgian Congo. Even after its independence the town was the engine of the country’s economy because of the fact that the ground here is full of natural resources. But when the mining company UMHK was nationalized things swiftly went downhill. When Mobutu was driven from power, Kolwezi became a ghost town. But today multinationals are discovering the town and have started exploiting the soil. The people of Kolwezi believe that this should generate the money to rebuild their city. Many people return to Kolwezi hoping to get a piece of the cake. The rebuilding process isn’t all bright and shiny when one takes a closer look. Many years have passed since the city’s revival, and the infrastructure for the average Congolese citizen has barely changed. Arthur, a Congolese man in his forties works for a South-African construction company. He’s the right hand of the white owner. His job is to supervise the various construction yards. Arthur has a sharp tongue and communicates smoothly with both the newly arrived white entrepreneur as with the local blue-collar workers. Arthur likes living like there is no tomorrow. Booze and women are an everyday occupation for him. He believes every day could be his last one, because he is HIV positive. He doesn’t quite know how to deal with the disease. In his eyes he is already dead. With Arthur as my guide I want to show the twisted metamorphosis Kolwezi is going trough. Not only Western companies are active in Katanga. Few years ago also the Chinese started taking interest in the province. The booming economy of China needs these natural resources in the soil as hard as a man needs air to breath. In exchange for various mining concessions the Chinese are rebuilding the road network in the DRC. Another character is a young Chinese road worker who is reconstructing the road between Lubumbashi and Kolwezi. He lives in a tent camp by the side of the road together with fifty other Chinese colleagues, trying to survive in a country where he can’t communicate with the locals and where the huge cultural gap often leads to misunderstandings. He didn’t have much of a choice in coming to Congo. It was either this work or living in poverty at home. At least, now he can go home with money for his family. Director’s intention My previous movie Pale Peko Bantu Mambo Ayikosake (Where there are people, there always will be problems) is set in Kolwezi. It tells the story

of Isaac Mbuyi, a young Congolese man trying to survive by working as a Creuseur or hand-picker. This means that he digs up cobalt using only his bare hands or just a spade in the abandoned mines of the once flourishing town of Kolwezi. The work is arduous and very dangerous and moreover, creuseurs are an easy target to dishonest dealers and profiteers. But Isaac’s motto is: Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Not knowing his story will come to a bitter end. During my last trip, I realized that there were more compelling stories to be told about the town. I came to the idea to make a trilogy about the place. The theme of the first documentary was the artisan mining in Kolwezi. The second movie – Pale Peko Bantu II ¬– will talk about the (re)construction of the town. The third and last movie will be about migration. In an observing and confronting style I want to describe the situation by drawing intimate portraits of these men. The situation of an African region pillaged by many foreign players while the locals have to stand on the sideline and watch the process. Powerless to do something about it due to a failed colonization and decolonization, a new sort of colonization: ruthless globalization. Director’s biography Bram Van Paesschen (*1979) is a director and editor living and works in Brussels. In 2002 he gets with great distinction his masters degree in the audio visual arts from the St-Lukas academy in Brussels. His graduation project Smokescreen Covering Brussels immediately stands out. In Belgium the film is selected and a great success on both sides of the linguistic border. But also outside of Belgium the film is remarked. Selections for prestigious festivals as FID Marseille and the festival for independent film in Buenos Aires are an irrefutable proof of that. In 2005 Van Paesschen makes his second movie World of Blue, Land of O. for Canvas (Belgium). The film was selected for the Brussels Argos festival. After selections for numerous international competitions in Europe and abroad the movie was awarded as the best national author documentary of 2005 by SCAM. In 2007 Bram finished yet another movie ICI (letter à Chantal Akerman) an essayistic and ironic documentary about colonization, collaboration, Christmas, sunglasses and light deficiency disorder. His 2008 90’ ‘Pale Peko Bantu Mambo Ayikosake’ was selected for IDFA 2008. The sequel to this film, ‘Pale Peko Bantu II’, is presently in development by Savage Film. producer’s profile Savage Productions was founded in 2002 by producer Bart Van Langendonck (*1963) and operates from Brussels, in an association with Eyeworks Film & TV Drama. Savage Film produces fiction, documentary and dance films with an edge, with subjects as versatile (fiction, politics, social issues, art …) as its directors’ backgrounds.  After a career in music management and programming, Bart Van Langendonck was general manager of choreographer/film director/photographer Wim Vandekeybus’ internationally renowned dance company ‘Ultima Vez’. He produced several documentaries and fiction projects for the film production company CCCP between 2002 and 2006. In November 2006 he launched the label SAVAGE FILM, presently developing and producing feature films of Wim Vandekeybus (Galloping Mind), Michaël R. Roskam (The Fields), Fleur Boonman (Portable Life) and Frank Theys (The Will to Virtuality), the documentaries Pale Peko Bantu II (Bram Van Paesschen), Walking Back To Happiness (Pascal Poissonnier), No Comment (Pascal Poissonnier), In Search of draughtswoman Zhou (Jeroen Van der Stock), and the dance film Rain (Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker).

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