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Home / Stop Filming Us (55 Minute Version)

Stop Filming Us (55 Minute Version)

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Catalogue Number:  TVP083
Producer:  Video Project, Inc.
Subject:  Canadian World Studies, Documentary, Family Studies/Home Economics, Media and Communications, Social Sciences, Social Studies, Sociology
Language:  English
Grade Level:  9 - 12, Adult
Country Of Origin:  United States
Copyright Year:  2019
Running Time:  54:28

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Can a Western filmmaker show anything of truth about the Democratic Republic of Congo? Or do their 'good intentions' only cause destruction and frustration? Three young artists from Goma resist the one-sided reporting that only reflect stereotypical images of war, violence, illness, and poverty — all results of years of Western domination.

Journalist Ley Uwera, photographer Mugabo Baritegera, and filmmaker Bernadette Vivuya struggle to showcase their own experiences of life in Goma where the typical portrait of a non-functioning government along with a helpless population fit into the narrative driven by the 250 Western NGOs that dominate the local economy. Mugabo tries to show the beauty of life in the city while Bernadette attempts to finance a film about her vision of Goma's colonial past. Meanwhile, Ley works for a Western NGO and is constantly caught in an ideological battle to either work for the well-paid Western organization who inserts their own slant on a story or to work as an unpaid freelance reporter with more freedom to air her own opinions.

The question then arises of whether a Western filmmaker can capture anything approaching truth about this complex country. Is the filmmaker part of the 'white savior complex'? Director Joris Postema grapples with these issues as he enters into open confrontations with the three local artists in his own attempt to bring mutual assumptions to the surface. The prejudices provide a deeper insight into the inequality of power that lies under the mechanism of Western imaging.

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Dutch Movies Matter Award, Movies That Matter Film Festival
Movies That Matter Film Festival
Human Rights Film Festival Berlin
Netherlands Film Festival
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières
Comhlámh #FirstWeds
De Balie, Amsterdam
Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam
Africa Museum, Belgium
VSO International
University of Leiden



"Beautiful images and captivating dialogues have made for a fresh approach to a tricky topic. It is a multi-layered film with fantastic characters whom we get to know intimately in the most genuine way...An important contribution to the crucial discussion about Western filmmaking and neocolonialism of the African continent." — Movies That Matter Jury Report

"Story about young artists in Goma fighting against the prevailing Western reporting on war and misery, the film investigates to what extent Western stereotyping is the result of a skewed balance of power. Cinematic dialogue between Western conceptions and the Congolese perception of reality." — IDFA



FILMMAKER'S STATEMENT: "I think the theme of the film is very important. Especially, in a world that’s so interconnected as it at the moment. And I think questions like, ‘Who can tell which story?’ and ‘Can a Western filmmaker say anything meaningful about a local perspective?’ I think these are important questions for filmmakers, but also in general. And I want to thank the crew and characters of the film for pointing out these questions to me. However uncomfortable that has been at times. So thank you, Ganza Buroko, TD Jack Muhindo, Juny Sikabwe, Gaïus Kowene, Mugabo Baritegera, Ley Uwera, Berandette Vivuya, and many others. You’ve brought so many issues to the foreground. And I can only hope that the film will serve as a tool for many more discussions about these topics."
 Joris Postema

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