This year from April 12-22nd, Filmfest DC brought over 80 international films to the capitol. In its 26th year, the festival put together an engaging 10-day event with 3 special series: The Lighter Side, a focus on International Comedies, Justice Matters, a collection of films about social justice, and Caribbean Journeys, featuring new films from Jamaica, Cuba, Trinidad, the Dominican Republic, and more.
In the Biography and Documentary category, the number one must-see is Blood in the Mobile.
Blood in the Mobile
Frank Piasecki Poulsen, Denmark, 2010, 82 minutes, color
Men and women, young and old, all seem to have their own cell phones today. As the youngest demographic cohort grows larger and other demographic cohorts grow older, the cell phone has taken over the telecommunications market. However, as the demand for cell phones increases so does the demand for the mineral cassiterite, found in almost every handset. The mineral is mined in the Republic of Congo and the main workforce is comprised of young children. These children are not only working in dangerous conditions but their labor is indirectly fueling the rebel forces in Congo and the bloody civil war that has been raging for the past 15 years.
This riveting documentary by Danish director Frank Piasecki Poulsen walks viewers through the mines patrolled by armed forces and later brings the information to Nokia, the world’s largest phone producer, in attempts to dissuade them from supporting these illegal cassiterite providers. The war, financed by this “conflict mineral”, has taken the lives of 5 million people, allowed 300,000 women to be raped, and countless children to be taken advantage of.
This film brings together the consumer and the children providing the labor. Corporate responsibility overseas must be brought to light and Western consumers must become more aware of what toll market capitalism has taken in other areas of the world. As one man, Poulsen was unable to bring Nokia to accountability. This movie is a must-see for anyone who owns a cell phone.
Léa Pool, Canada, 2011, 98 minutes, color
Photo shown above.
The Girls in the Band
Judy Chaikin, USA, 2011, 87 minutes, color and black and white