The exiting new film Staff Benda Bilili has just been confirmed for this year’s festival. The documentary follows the (almost literally) rags-to-riches story of Staff Benda Bilili, a band of musicians who’ve had polio playing guitars from their wheelchairs, along with a former street child, Roger Landu, who performs on an instrument constructed from a tin can and a piece of wire. They were hailed as a sensation when they first appeared in London in 2009, and continued to build up their following at the Glastonbury and Womad festivals last summer.
Ricky has a dream: to make Staff Benda Bilili the best band in Congo Kinshasa. Roger, a street child, more than ever wants to join these stars of the ghetto, who get around in customized tricycles. Together, they must avoid the pitfalls of the street, stay united and find the force to hope in music. Spanning five years, from the first rehearsals to their triumph at international festivals, Benda Bilili! (“beyond appearances”) is the story of this dream becoming a reality.
Mandela’s release was a hugely significant historical event that no self-respecting journo wanted to miss. Hence, 11 February 1990 turned into a monumental media frenzy. Through the creation of an innovative montage from original footage, Welcome Nelson brings an interesting perspective to the day the world’s most famous and best-loved prisoner walked free.