Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Updates, toothaches, and blah, blah, blah...

Starbucks is now going to sell Rwanda Tea?....WHAT THE F-?!?!?! After what they are doing in Eastern Congo? Looting million and killing millions and this is how Rwanda is rewarded?!?!?!? Amazing...Kagame probably has Hutu prisoners digging up the ground to plant the coffee beans.. I'm officially boycotting Starbucks until this travesty of indignational proportions is corrected...

The same people who are screaming, "Boycott Sudan, Divest from Sudan", will now be saying that while holding their latte's.....

Okay, nothing political right now, I'll hold back my thoughts...or I'll just post them in my DRCNN blog... Its been awhile I know since I've last posted, I'm just involved in so much and I've spent the last few days streamlining the operations and just life in general....like the fact that I have to get these roots canal done in the near future because this pain in my jaw at times keeps me up laaaaaaate at night! I can only take so much painkillers..."Tylonal 500mg" is my constant companion...

….where was I? Oh yeah, I saw Tsotsi a few days ago...movie looked good, but let me tell you about Hollywood, when they say a movie "looks good", they really mean that the plot/storyline sucked. And let me tell you, Tsotsi was a movie that had me shaking my head when I left it with Kristie.... If you never new anything about South Africa and you saw this movie, you wouldn't want to know anything about South Africa let alone visit there... So this is what I'm going to do, I'm going to post a review of the movie this Friday, 2 days before the Oscar, this way you will have had enough time to see the movie. Me? I don't see how it was even considered for "best foreign film"... Now back to the productions at hand... I finished the latest draft to the Congo script a few days ago, and sent it out to a few of the leads. I made a few changes in terms of language in that I wanted to display more of our ethnic language instead of the languages Continental African acquired because of Colonialism. Because I find that Sadiq (Mulele in the film) speaks Crio, a language of Sierra Language, I changed the language to Crio that he speaks in a few scenes.

I'm sending the screenplay to John Prendagast. John is a Special advisor to Crisisgroup.org. We met in Sacramento in April of 2005 when he was a keynote speaker at Cal State Sacramento Conflict and Resolution. I was a presenter there and it was odd because just a few days before the event I was thinking that John and I should me. Well we finally did, and we are told that the organizers of the conference felt that we had too much fun in CalState.

I guess they felt that we should be stuck up and bourgeois like academic intellectuals tend to be at this Conference…

So after John went back to DC and I went back to Los Angeles I asked him if he would be interested in doing a cameo in the film and I said he would! That was cool. Now if these Hollywood “stars” who haven’t even been mentioned on Nightline (John was profiled twice) would be so humble the world would be a better place…and produce better movies…now let me introduce you to the ladies in the production. They are as follows:

Kristie Latray (as Geneva, top photo) ,

Bibi Amos (as Kita, middle photo),

and Joella Benoit (as Mujinga, bottom photo).

Not pictured is Solange Hepburn, Nday Kalubi,

Simba Dibinga (misengamanagement.com),

Mikolo, Thoto, Omekongo Dibinga

(omekongo.com)and a few other folks…

The feedback on the script has been extremely positive ad the opinions of each person has went a long way to strengthening the project.

Each person that reads it is a different audience so I get interesting opinions…The composers for the movie is Dig who is with Synchmasters and a great musician and composer from Tanzania named Emmanuel. I’m looking to use to music from Congo and want to make sure that the musical rights are obtained properly so that the owners can receive royalties. Artist like Franco, Koffi Olomide, the Luba traditional song NJANJA, Tshiela Muana. I’m serious, they are part of the proposed soundtrack, and if we can strike a deal we’ll use the songs but I want to make sure that the respective artist receive royalties…

Okay, some of you are on dial-up so I’m going to end here. Tomorrow I’m going to fill you in on how the casting sessions were put together and some other good stuff…remember, if you want to be different, be yourself…

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Patrice and Mulele


Where do I start? The last few days have been crazy! I'm finishing the edits of the Congo script, changing a few things here and there. There is a plot twist involving the lead character named Kita that I need to hide better. You'll have to see the movie to know what the plot twist is...I sent the Congo script out to a few people, including a cinematographer from Senegal. He's been in the business for along time. Have the skills. I would love to have a cast of Africans behind the camera int he directors chair also. I feel that it world bring a different feeling to the production. Now cast wise, I bumped into Sadiq Abu (top photo) last night at the TSOTSI screening---I hated the movie, it reinforced soooooo many stereotypes that I wouldn't know where to begin. Back to Sadiq. He's been casted as Mulele in the Congo script. I was hesitant to give him such a strong role only because he's not Congolese, and it was important to me that a Congolese play the Congolese roles. Sadiq is from Sierra Leone and speaks several languages. I originally wanted to offer this role to Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard, but that didn't work out. Terrance isn't Congolese, so if I was thinking about Terrance for the Mulele roll, then Sadiq can be considered.

I brought Sadiq in, and he read with a Congolese actor named Richard Tchicaya (bottom photo). His father is the Congo Republic, his mother is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Well let me tell you that Sadiq and Richard, who I was still suspect about, they both convinced me that they were great for the part. Richards character is named Patrice. Richard is also a member of the US Marines so the ruggedness and military skills are there. Sadiq has a smooth touch to him. Muleles character is a Matise. A Matise is someone who is usually a man that is half Belgian, half Congolese, and they think because they are light skinned that they are better than everyone...Not! Richard and Sadiq impressed the casting directors. Mulele and Patrice used to be in the old Zairian army. Sadiq did his part in KiSwahili and Richard did his part in French and English. Looking back, I made Richards audition a bit difficult because I gave him his lines in English and asked him to read it in French. That slowed thing down considerably because he had to translate the words as he was reading it so Richard couldn’t read it smoothly. Richard, Sadiq, and I talked in the hallway, and I believe it was Sadiq that made the suggestion that Richard switch between speaking in French and speaking English, which is what a lot of people that are multilingual do. It worked! During the audition Sadiq added a touch to the role that I'm going to write into the script. Ok, tomorrow I'll tell you about the ladies casted for this production: Bibi Amos, Joella Benoit, and Kristie Latray...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Another day on the film development

Today was a crazy day! I'm in the middle of fundraising for my short film MOSAIC, which is a movie combining scenes from 4 movies that I had written. Its coming along well. The production costs $14,000.00. Thats a good amoutn of money for a film that lasts only about 6 minutes...I needed to raise more money, and two of my close good friends came through! I'm humbled that they have faith in my project......

Anyway, the movie, "SHOOTING DOGS" is coming out, its another film about the Rwanda Genocide. Though I am sure that its going to be a great film, its yet another media tool that Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame will use to justify the holocaust in eastern Congo (now standing at 7 million dead Congolese)... The reason I'm doing my movie isn't to place blame but to show people in the form of a docudrama, what’s really happening my country and to a certain extent what really happened in Rwanda. I'll talk about that in my next post...

For now let me tell you that there will be scenes in my film that recreates the killing of Luba’s in Katanga in the 1960’s….it was very emotional writing it, but even more emotional hearing the story being told to me by my Mother and her brother……

Friday, February 17, 2006

Once Upon A Time In The Congo

Hello folks, my name is Said Yenga Kakese wa Dibinga, I am from the Democratic Republic of The Congo. Welcome to the blog for the movie that I am developing, "Once Upon A Time In The Congo"!

This is a feature-length independent film that I wrote and am co-producing for a possible fall 2006 release. I don’t really talk about my projects until they are done, I would rather that you the audience find out about my projects when they are completed because its said that people who talk the most about what they are going to do usually don’t don’t do it. I made the decison to talk about the film here because several people kept asking about it.

I’m also the moderator for drcnn@yahoogroups.com (a news site for issues relating to Congo) and malu_kayi@yahoogroups.com (a listserve for Luba youth and Luba culture. Both sites are in English. Also, www.onceuponatimeinthecongo.com will go live within the next two months so stay tuned.

The movie is about an ex-Rwanda Tutsi soldier named Hatari Shinji living in exile in South Africa, who is wanted by (Rwandan President) Paul Kagame's inner circle and by members of the transitional government in Kinshasa (capital of The Democratic Republic of The Congo). Hatari has secrets relating to the matters in eastern Congo (specifically the Kivu's). Two hit teams are sent after him. One hit team, hired by members in the Kinshasa government, is comprised of two female ex-FAZ (armed Forces of Zaire) named Mukaya and Llinga. The other team is comprised of two ex-FAZ named Mulele and Patrice, who were hired by a survivor of one of Hatari’s supervised massacres in Eastern Congo during Rwanda’ two invasions (1996,1998).

We held an audition in Los Angeles in November 2005, and it went very well. Our casting director was fortunate to locate several Congolese actors living in Los Angeles. I’ll soon be posting photos here of the various cast members and other happenings.

Trust me when I tell you this, it takes a loong time to make a movie. Both Ophra Winfrey's movie "Beloved" and Steven Speilbergs "Schindlers List" took 10 years to make. Craig Brewers "Hustle & Flow" took 4 years to make. I wrote the first draft of the Congo script in 2003. We're almost there. Feel free to post your comments/questions. Oh, there will be a fund raising drive for the movie so you are more than welcome to participate in that also…:-)

Talk to you later,