Driving through Rwanda to east Congo I could not get over the amount of cultivation. Miles of terraced mountains divided for maize, banana trees, cassava, beans, tea bushes (for which Rwanda is well-known) etc.–the whole countryside felt more like Tuscany than Africa to me. The only natural landscape was in the national park, and I wondered if there were gorillas in those mountains. (Spotted a monkey–video coming soon).
In the airport on the way home I read in the newspaper that movie set in the Congo has been short listed (top 15) for an Oscar bid in documentaries. To me this is good news, a film that will raise awareness about the war still effecting all the inhabitants of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I pray this documentary takes the Oscar. The movie is called Virunga, after the name of the Virunga National Park–where the last mountain gorillas in the world live with park rangers trying to protect them from development and rebel groups who terrorize man and beast. Below is a synopsis from the movie’s website. View the trailer, learn about the gorilla rehab man, and see more here.
VIRUNGA IS THE INCREDIBLE TRUE STORY OF A GROUP OF BRAVE PEOPLE RISKING THEIR LIVES TO BUILD A BETTER FUTURE IN A PART OF AFRICA THE WORLD’S FORGOTTEN AND A GRIPPING EXPOSE OF THE REALITIES OF LIFE IN THE CONGO.
In the forested depths of eastern Congo lies Virunga National Park, one of the most bio-diverse places on Earth and home to the planet’s last remaining mountain gorillas. In this wild, but enchanted environment, a small and embattled team of park rangers – including an ex-child soldier turned ranger, a caretaker of orphan gorillas and a dedicated conservationist who’s a member of the Belgian royal family – protect this UNESCO world heritage site from armed militia, poachers and the dark forces struggling to control Congo’s rich natural resources. When the newly formed M23 rebel group declares war, a new conflict threatens the lives and stability of everyone and everything they’ve worked so hard to protect, with the filmmakers and the film’s participants caught in the crossfire.
A powerful combination of investigative journalism and nature documentary, VIRUNGA is the incredible true story of a group of courageous people risking their lives to build a better future in a part of Africa the world’s forgotten, and a gripping exposé of the realities of life in the Congo.
From director Orlando von Einsiedel and executive producer Leonardo DiCaprio.
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NOW STREAMING ON NETFLIX
Kristin King is an author and president of the non-profit Future Hope Africa, a small educational mission in east Congo. Recently returned from spending Christmas in the Congo, she is currently blogging about the experience.