The Film

"Kinshasa Symphony" shows how people living in one of the most chaotic cities in the world have managed to forge one of the most complex systems of human cooperation ever invented: a symphony orchestra. It is a film about the Congo, about the people of Kinshasa and about music.


“Kinshasa Symphony” – a three-way perspective

The City: Kinshasa

One of the youngest, biggest, most chaotic cities in the world. One of the fastest growing megacities, a veritable Moloch. Poet Thierry Mayamba Nlandu describes the city as “beyond chaos”. He should know. He is a genuine “Kinois”, an inhabitant of Kinshasa.

The People: Various “Kinois”

Among the people guiding us through the city are bread salesgirl Chantal Ikina, electrician and hairdresser Joseph, artisan Albert Matubenza and preacher Armand Diangienda. What they all have in common is their love of music. Chantal and Joseph are violinists, Albert can play all string instruments as well as the guitar and Armand is the conductor

The Music: “L’Orchestere Symphonique Kimbanguiste”

The tortuous paths of these “Kinois” through the different worlds of the city converge at the rehearsal venue of the only symphony orchestra not only in Kinshasa or the Congo, but in all sub-Saharan Africa.

Chantal, Joseph, Albert, Armand and the orchestra have allowed us to accompany them with the camera wherever they go. The time we allow ourselves to get to know one another, the intensity of these encounters and the love of classical music we all share enable us to paint a fascinating picture of the lives of people in the present-day Congo. It is a film about a city in Africa, its citizens – and the music they perform: Handel, Verdi, Beethoven.

“Kinshasa Symphony” shows Kinshasa in all its diversity, speed, colour, vitality and energy. The sound of this city and its orchestra is conveyed by a sonic design that blends the music with the atmosphere of Kinshasa.

For many years this was not only a very difficult undertaking, it was officially prohibited. Dictator Mobutu did all he could to prevent the world from witnessing the decay of his country. This is why the only pictures we have of the Congo, to the extent that they exist at all, come from news reports. “Kinshasa Symphony” paints a very different picture of the Congo.

The orchestra’s collective music-making, the rehearsals and the concerts they lead up to show our protagonists in the company of over two hundred other “Kinois”. The results are magnificent and inspiring images of the courage and determination with which Congolese civic society sets out to free itself from a vicious circle of colonial oppression, tyranny, poverty and war that has had them in its grip for decades.

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First broadcasting of Kinshasa Symphony at WDR (West German Television) on 7. August 2012, 22h30

Winner of a golden HUGO at the 48th Chigago TV Festival Hugo Awards.

Kinshasa Symphony
is nominated in the category „Information & Culture/Special“ for the German TV Grimme-Award 2012.

Winners of International "Gold Panda" Awards for Documentary at the "11th Sichuan TV Festival": Kinshasa Symphony receives GRAND PRIZE and prize for BEST DIRECTOR!

Finally! .. the instruments that had been collected for the orchestra since the theatrical release in Germany have finally arrived in Kinshasa! A big thanks to all the donors! Pictures here

AWARD NEWS: Best Arts in Film Documetary - Feature International @ Santa Rosa Int. Film Festival!

screening at the opening ceremony of the "German Film Week" in Bujumbura, Burundi @ 7pm (19h) - with Martin Baer and Pascal Capitolin!

Theatrical release in France! ! !

The children of an elementary school in Berlin-Steglitz, "Grundschule am Insulaner", have collected 600€ to support the music school project of the orchestra!

Best Documentary
at the 11th Image et Vie Film Festival in Dakar, Sénégal!

Theatrical release in Austria on May, 20th!

... and another Audience Award! This time in Pessac/France at Palmarés-Du Festival de cinéma jeune public-Les Toiles Filantes!

Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at the RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem, USA!

Kinshasa Symphony wins two awards at the 25th Bolzano Film Festival:"Best Documentary" and Audience Award!

Kinshasa Symphony has won two more awards! The World Gold Medal at the New York Festival in the category documentaries as well as the Award for the Best Artistic Achievement from the city of Potsdam.

Twitter News from RiverRun Film Festival:
"Met a woman who drove up from Atlanta (530 km distance) with her daughter just to watch "Kinshasa Symphony" today!"

Theatrical release in France in September!

Beautiful segment about Kinshasa Symphony on NYC's classical music station WQXR.

Armand Diangienda will be attending 2 festivals in the US in April: The AFF in NY and RiverRun Int. Film Festival in Winston-Salem!!!

Kinshasa Symphony has won the Jury Award at the 2011 Salem Film Fest!

Kinshasa Symphony is nominated for the GERMAN FILM AWARD 2011!

Kinshasa Symphony is preselected for the German film award Lola.

Theatrical release in Belgium January 2011!

CMJ Music&Film Festival, New York, announces Kinshasa Symphony as "Best Documentary" in the Audience Poll!

WDR musicians back from Kinshasa! Trip and work with the Orchestra a huge success!

Closing Film at the European Film Festival in Göttingen/Germany. Sold out again!

Two sold out screenings at the EthnoFilmFest in Munich and apparently a record in visitors and positive feedback!

Screening at Free Zone Festival in Belgrade: "The screening was really great. Our audience loved the film. I can say that Kinshasa Symphony was one of the hit films at Free zone."

November 2010: Theatrical Release in Switzerland!

"Special Jury Mention" for creative dramatic illustration of the survival topic at "Flahertiana" Film Festival in Perm, Russia!

"VIFF Most Popular Nonfiction Film Award" in Vancouver!

Kinshasa Symphony is the Audience Favourite at the "10th Festival des Deutschen Films" in Buenos Aires!

Our first need at betterplace.org has been completed. Thanks to everyone for the donations and support!

Great cinema release! Kinshasa Symphony in 6th place at this week's Arthouse-Movie-Charts!

"Kinshasa Symphony...the best musical documentary since Rhythm is it!" - Deutschlandradio

Theatrical Release in Germany

Now donations for the orchestra possible at betterplace.org!

"Kinshasa Symphony" is nominated for the Erasmus EuroMedia Awards 2010.

The 6th Jecheon International Music & Film Festival presents the Grand Prize to "Kinshasa Symphony" from the International Competition section, "World Music Film Today".

Rhode Island Int. Film Festival 2010:
Grand Prize "Best Cinematography"
goes to "Kinshasa Symphony"
The 2010 Flickers: Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF) announced the winners in this year’s film competition at its annual Awards Ceremony in downtown Providence, RI. The festival ran August 10th-15th and showcased over 200 cinematic works, including 35 World and 23 US/North American Premieres. The films were selected from a record entry base of over 4200 international submissions.

Filmmusik verbindet die Festivals in aller Welt: bei den Oberaudorfer Musikfilmtagen spielt die Jugendblaskapelle Filmmusikklassiker - zur Eroeffnung des Jecheon International Music & Film Festivals in Korea gibt es ebenfalls Filmmusik, diesmal gespielt auf koreanischen Saiteninstrumenten.
Beide Festivals sind noch jung. Beide sind ausgesprochen gastfreundlich und wunderbar musikorientiert. Fantastisch, dass beide Kinshasa Symphony zeigen! In Bayern mit deutschen Untertiteln, in Jecheon mit koreanischen.

Kinshasa Symphony erhält eine "Lobende Erwähnung" beim Phoenix-Dokumentarfilmpreis 2010. >>>

Pascal Capitolin stellt Kinshasa Symphony beim Durban International Film Festival vor: "Die erste Vorstellung fand vor vierhundert Schülern statt, die danach vor allem fragten, wieso Schwarze klassische Musik statt Rap oder ähnlichem spielen. Der Film kam sehr gut bei ihnen an - und gelacht wurde an ganz anderen Stellen als in Europa. In Südafrika haben schon erstaunlich viele Menschen von "Kinshasa Symphony" gehört."

Kinshasa Symphony hat seine Premiere im Kongo.
Der Film läuft "open air" am 20.7., dann als Gala-Vorstellung für das gesamte Orchester am 21. Juli im "Hotel Venus" und am 22. Juli im "Centre Culturel Wallonie-Bruxelles" fileadmin/user_upload/pdfs/PM_Filmvorfuehrung_in_Kinshasa.pdf>>>

Kinshasa Symphony erhält den Publikumspreis beim „Festival des Deutschen Films“ >>>

Special Mention: Kinshasa Symphony "The jury was very enthusiastic about the portrayal of the creative musicians in Congo."

Kinshasa Symphony opens the prestigious "Visions du Réel" festival in Nyon (Switzerland) on 15 April 2010 

8.3.2010 World premier of Kinshasa Symphony a complete success: two showings completely sold out, keen interest from the audience

Kinshasa Symphony selected for Berlinale 2010
The film “Kinshasa Symphony” celebrates its world premiere at “Berlinale Special” on February 17th 2010, 21:45h (rerun February 18th, 18:00h, Cubix 8)

The team is back in Berlin and the postproduction has started already.

The second phase of filming in
Kinshasa has begun. Fortunately, the rains have held off. Rehearsals, outside shots, short musician portraits and a new protagonist: a tubist with his own pharmacy. And: the cameraman still has both his shoes.

sounding images GmbH has succeeded in bringing the Kinshasa Symphony project to the attention of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin. The orchestra gave the filming team a crate with collected instruments for L’Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste. A long-term partnership is planned between the two orchestras. An instrument maker is also to travel to
Kinshasa to offer support and advice locally.

sounding images has succeeded in securing the patronage of the German Commission for UNESCO for the Kinshasa Symphony project. This makes us very proud.

The first leg of the filming is over. With the exception of one of the cameraman’s shoes that got lost on the flight back, the team and their equipment have returned unscathed…

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