Berlinale competition title Félicité filmed in Kinshasa
Alain Gomis’ feature Félicité, screening in competition at this year’s Berlinale, filmed on location in Kinshasa, the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo in west Africa.
The film tells the story of independent-minded Kinshasa bar singer Félicité, who is forced to find a way to pay her son’s medical bills when he’s involved in a motorcycle accident.
“What is key is always having the right advisor on site,” says Gomis of filming Félicité on location in the bustling streets of Kinshasa.
“Thanks to Dieudo Hamadi, a young and brilliant Congolese documentary maker, I was put in touch with Roger Kangudia, a location manager and producer who was able to take me everywhere, roaming the city to find the various places where I’d pictured the film.
“The heart of the possibility of a film in this kind of situation resides in the location management and executive production - in this particular instance, Oumar Sall, the Senegalese co-producer.
“If they’re well connected, know how to get around in the various locations where we’d like to film, if they know how to talk and get people involved in the film, then we can shoot anywhere.”
“We try to remain accessible to get as much of what happens as possible, to never play against, to remain attentive.
“You’ve always got someone from the intelligence service at your side, and a powerful bureaucracy with which you need to be able to [have] dialogue. You also have people who are often recalcitrant toward the camera because they are wary about the image conveyed, so you have to talk to them. You’re filming using the city – it’s the city that makes the film.”
Félicité is Gomis’ fourth feature. His 2012 film Aujourd’hui (aka Tey) was filmed in Senegal and was nominated for the Golden Bear at Berlinale that year.