Documentary - Production 2012

fighting for his ambitions, Kakudji is the first African to sing arias in the predominately white world of opera music.? Still, he seems to hold his own in our harsh and lonesome reality. Moreso, as the first African ever he stands on the verge of a tremendous international career in opera music.

    • Year of production
    • 2012
    • Genres
    • Documentary
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • FRENCH, Other
    • Budget
    • 0.3 - 0.6 M$
    • Duration
    • 70 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Ibbe DANIELS, Koen VIDAL
    • Writer(s)
    • Ibbe DANIELS, Koen VIDAL
    • Producer(s)
    • Eric GOOSSENS (off world), Frederik NICOLAI (off world)
    • Synopsis
    • Serge Kakudji is a twenty-year-old Congolese contra tenor who fell in love with opera as a young boy, listening to cassette tapes of classical recordings in his room in Lubumbashi. He later travelled to Europe to achieve his dream of becoming a top opera singer. Although Serge’s artistic ambitions are pure and uncomplicated, the reactions among his environment and audiences are often ambiguous and divided. While some people respect and acknowledge his artistic vocation, others see him as an exotic oddity, or complain that that his African timbre jars with classical opera.
      Serge refuses to be discouraged by any of this. On the contrary, he wants to hold up a mirror to Western culture and confront it with its underlying beliefs.
      He also wants to use his story and experiences in the west to bring opera to Congo. Together with his countrymen and women, he wants to found a Congolese opera tradition based on African stories that will inspire people to follow their dreams.
      We have known Serge for some time now. When we first saw him at work in a music and dance performance, we were blown away by his voice and presence.
      We therefore asked him to compose the music and to sing for our short film Futur Simple, about hope and despair among children and young people in Congo. It was a fantastic collaboration, and shooting the short film was a wonderful experience that left everyone wanting more. We became increasingly intrigued by this ambitious young man from Congo, who is so determined to reach the top of the classical opera world. Drawing on his African roots and his personal journey, he has developed a strong, confrontational vision on the west, from everyday society to the highest echelons of the elitist world of culture. We developed a close bond with Serge, which is a necessary foundation to support us during the long haul of making a documentary.
      It would be easy to portray a young Congolese man, whose culture is far removed from our centuries-old artistic and musical traditions, and who seems to have come from nowhere to penetrate its very heart, as an exotic phenomenon. There are many such exotic phenomena however. This documentary has chosen to take a very different approach.
      Ouverture is an intimate documentary whose main character, Serge Kakudji, takes us on a journey into the fascinating world of opera, and the colourful society of Congo. Serge’s extraordinary position makes it possible to critically analyse these two opposite worlds.
      This film is very important to Serge, because it is part of his artistic journey. On the one hand, he wants to better understand our culture and his position in it. Serge is gradually gaining respect and acknowledgement in the opera world, but his years in Europe have awakened different, but above all, divergent feelings, doubts and desires in him. On the other hand, he hopes that the film can inspire his compatriots in Congo to hold on to their dreams, despite all the difficulties and obstacles on their path. Nothing is impossible and he wants this film to bring opera to Congo and to convince his fellow countrymen and women of their musical talent and narrative potential.
      Serge loves stories, and feels that his story is equally relevant to African and Western audiences. The film is therefore based on an audiovisual dialogue with Serge. A critical, but constructive dynamic grew between us. Instead of unthinking adulation, we held up an intercultural mirror to each other that stimulated everyone’s search for self-knowledge. As film makers we did not therefore conceal ourselves - on the contrary, we are part of the universal search to realise our dreams. These shared feelings and thoughts include us in this story. Music, the most direct expression of culture, individuality and emotions forms the constant basis of this film.
      Its ultimate goal is to unite 2 different cultural, social and musical worlds in a revolutionary opera project in Congo. The projects that Serge has planned this year all work towards the development of his dreams, which are to make a definitive breakthrough in Europe and to bring opera to Africa. We think that we are making this film during the most crucial period of his career.
      Europe and Africa will be featured equally as locations. The natural contrasts and contradictions, the cultural beauty and deep-seated taboos and prejudices on both continents form the fascinating background to this story.
    • Partners & financing
    • §VAF development funding Confirmed € 25.000
      VAF production funding Confirmed € 100.000
      French speaking community of Belgium Confirmed € 33.750
      Tax shelter | equity Confirmed € 108.000
      VRT - canvas | presale Confirmed € 5.000
      DG-D Confirmed € 35.000
      Presales & coproductions tbc € 100.000
      Producers investment Confirmed € 8.260
      TOTAL € 415.010
    • Production schedule
    • release november 2012
    • Beginning of shooting
    • May 01, 2011