CONGO CALLING

2019, 90 min
Written and directed by Stephan Hilpert

In crisis-ridden eastern Congo, three European development aid workers are forced to question what it means to help. Raúl, a French-Spanish economist doing research on rebel groups, realizes that he is leading his Congolese colleagues into great temptation with his project funds, putting their study at risk of failing. After 30 years in Africa, Peter, from Germany, reaches retirement age and is unable to renew his job contract. He struggles to stay in Congo and to preserve his identity as an aid worker. And the relationship of Anne-Laure, from Belgium, is put to the test when her Congolese boyfriend, after a stay in prison, becomes a high-profile regime critic. Deeply personal insights into coexistence and cooperation between Europe and Africa – and the question: how helpful is the help of the West?

Theatrical release (Germany): 22 August 2019 (distributor: JIP Film & Verleih)
TV broadcast
(Germany): 11 November 2019 (broadcaster: ZDF–Das kleine Fernsehspiel)
DVD VOD release (Germany/Austria/Switzerland): 6 March 2020 (distributor: good!moviesZorro Film)



LINKS:

Film website (German): www.congo-calling.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/CongoCallingFilm
Instagram: www.instagram.com/congocallingthefilm
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt9621050/



AWARDS:

Max Ophüls Prize film festival, Saarbrücken/Germany – Audience Award for Best Documentary
DOK.fest Munich/Germany 2019 – FFF Documentary Talent Award
Filmkunstfest MV, Schwerin/Germany 2019 – Award for Best Cinematography
• nominated for the German Documentary Award 2019


FESTIVAL SCREENINGS:

• 2019/01: Max Ophüls Prize Film Festival (Saarbrücken/Germany)
• 2019/04: Achtung Berlin - New Berlin Film Award (Berlin/Germany)
• 2019/05: Filmkunstfest MV (Schwerin/Germany)
• 2019/05: DOK.fest Munich (Munich/Germany)
• 2019/05: dokKa Karlsruhe (Karlsruhe/Germany)
• 2019/06: SWR Doku Festival (Stuttgart/Germany)
• 2019/07: Afrikatage Heidelberg-Mannheim (Germany)
• 2019/09: Fünf Seen Filmfestival (Starnberg/Germany)
• 2019/11: Kolkata International Film Festival (Kolkata/India)
• 2019/11: Ciné Droit Libre (Abidjan/Côte d'Ivoire)
• 2019/11: Kinofest Lünen (Lünen/Germany)
• 2019/12: London Migration Film Festival (London/UK)
• 2020/01: Africa Alive Festival (Frankfurt/Germany)
• 2020/02: Boddinale (Berlin/Germany)
• 2020/05: German International Ethnographic Film Festival (Göttingen/Germany)
• 2020/06: Liberation Docfest Bangladesh
• 2020/08: Africlap (Toulouse/France)
• 2020/09: Sucre International Film Festival of Human Rights (Sucre/Bolivia)
• 2020/09: International Documentary Festival Visioni dal Mondo (Milano/Italien)

UPCOMING:

2020/10: APOX Film Festival (Croatia)
2020/10: International Festival of Ethnological Film (Belgrade/Serbia)
2020/10: Congo in Harlem (New York/USA)
• 2020/10: International Film Festival Etnofilm (Čadca/Slovakia)

UPCOMING CINEMA SCREENINGS IN GERMANY:
see the German distributor's website: www.jip-film.de/congo-calling



REVIEWS:

“Stephan Hilpert’s film refrains from passing judgement, even the most disturbing moments are presented without commentary. That’s its strength... CONGO CALLING has no simple answers as to whether and when development aid is good. That's another great strength.”
TTT – TITEL, THESEN, TEMPERAMENTE

“Gets incredibly close to its protagonists… A very intimate film… A documentary which feels like a fiction film”
DEUTSCHLANDFUNK KULTUR

“A touching journey to the Congo”
SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG

“A courageous look at the country and its people – and also at the inner conflict with which the helpers struggle”
– BR KINOKINO

“A masterful film, observing with precision and not offering the false promise of knowing all the answers to the questions it raises”
– PROGRAMMKINO.DE

“Approaches the big paradox of development aid with calmness and cautiousness… and an unmistakable sense of the right distance at the right moment”
– JURY, FILMKUNSTFEST MV

“In an unobtrusive yet intimate way, Stephan Hilpert’s CONGO CALLING tells of the contradictions and failings of European development aid, on both a large and a small scale. The success of this cinematic balancing act is not least due to the unobtrusive and at the same time precise camerawork.”
– JURY, DOK.FEST MUNICH



See the review by ttt - titel thesen temperamente (in German) here:



CREDITS:


A production by Stephan Hilpert in co-production with ZDF-Das kleine Fernsehspiel in cooperation with the University of Television and Film Munich, financially supported by FilmFernsehFonds Bayern

Featuring: Anne-Laure Van der Wielen, Raúl Sánchez de la Sierra, Peter Merten & many more
Written & directed by Stephan Hilpert
Cinematography & colour grading: Daniel Samer
Film editing: Miriam Märk
Original music: Sebastian Fillenberg (Cello: Juri Kannheiser, Violin: Sebastian Fillenberg)
Sound design & mixing: Andreas Goldbrunner
Concept inspiration & advice: Raúl Sánchez de la Sierra, Gauthier Marchais
Concept advice: Franziska von Malsen, Jean-Benoit Falisse
Post-production: Fabian Spang
Film graphics: Saba Bussmann
Transcriptions & translations: Rosette Watanga, Parfaite Batoto Siva
Subtitles: sub:werk-Florian Wolf, Liv Schwenk
Drivers: Dieumerci Kambale Wasingya, Dominique Mabura
Project consultants HFF: Knut Karger, Daniel Lang
Line producers HFF: Ferdinand Freising, Manya Lutz-Moneim
Assistant to line producer HFF: Anna Katharina Engel
Accounting HFF: Margit Werb
Project supervision HFF: Prof. Heiner Stadler
Production manager: Lilian Dammann
Commissioning editor (ZDF): Eva Katharina Klöcker