Social issues - Post-Production 2020

To what extent Western media representation of Congo is the result of a skewed balance of power between African countries and the West? Stop Filming Us is a cinematic dialogue between Western conceptions and the Congolese own perception of their reality.

& Awards

Movies that Matter 2020
Dutch Movies Matter
    • Year of production
    • 2020
    • Genres
    • Social issues, Documentary, Art - Culture
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 0.3 - 0.6 M$
    • Duration
    • 95 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Joris POSTEMA
    • Synopsis
    • Stop Filming Us dissects the mechanisms underpinning the dominance of Western perspectives of the Congo and African countries in general. Journalist Ley Uwera, photographer Mugabo Baritegera and filmmaker Bernadette Vivuya are among the frontrunners of a new generation of Congolese that want to show their own reality in response to the one-sided Western dominated perceptions of their region. With their cameras, they are showing a picture that is miles apart from the standard Western image of misery and violence. Are there ways to adjust this paradigm and is a Western filmmaker capable of telling this story?
      At the same time, the realisation of the film will itself become part of the film, as the viewer becomes part of filmmaker Joris Postema’s search for a way in which he can show how the two different perceptions exist in parallel, while clearly influencing one another. He wants to leave room to hold his own Western prejudices to light. He does this by, on the one hand, entering into a dialogue with the young people of Goma and, on the other, by engaging in a dialogue with Western journalists and the NGOs in Goma. This space is organically incorporated into the film’s story. Local producer Ganza Buroko and interpreter Gaïus Kowene constantly confront him with his own Western notions. Also, Ley and Gerry frequently take on assignments from Western NGOs, as these provide them with a basic living. As a result, they are frequently caught up in an ideological dilemma. How do Western employees of NGOs and media companies like the BBC and Radio Netherlands Worldwide respond to the underexposed good sides of Goma? And how do Ley, Mugabo, Gerry, Ganza and Gaïus see the dark sides of Goma? How do they perceive the refugee camps, the current cholera epidemic and the fourteen UN soldiers murdered last winter?

      Stop Filming Us is a film which dissects the mechanisms underpinnig the dominance of Western perspectives on the Congo and Africa. It asks how deeply ingrained these perceptions are in our hearts and minds and whether they are the result of feelings of guilt, superiority or racism. Where does the constant need to provide aid and assistance come from? Is it a business model to legitimise the presence of the 250 Western NGOs located in Goma? Or does it constitute a means to demonstrate our (Christian) charity? Are there ways to adjust this paradigm to reconcile it with what the residents of Goma themselves experience?