Congolese Director Seeks Funding for Sino-African Co-Production

Munga Djo seeks backers for a Chinese cop thriller set in Congo.

Congolese director Munga Djo (Viva Riva!) is flying to Hong Kong’s Filmart to find local backers for a new feature he’s billing at the first ever Sino-African co-production. 

In Inspector Lou, a veteran Chinese cop heads to Kinshasa to track down his Chinese gangster nemesis, who escaped to the Congolese capital and now lives like a king. Once there, Inspector Lou teams up with a young local cop to bring the man to justice. 

“It’s a genre movie and I love genre movies because I think they are a great vehicle for talking about a society and its people,” Djo says. “The biggest change in Congo in the last 10 years has been all these Chinese people coming into the country. I didn’t want to do a stereotypical story about the ‘bad Chinese stealing African resources.’ This won’t be a political film, but a film about the stories of these people, how they have changed Congo and how Congo has changed them.”

Djo adds that his experience of Chinese immigrants to Africa has been sharply different than the exploiter image often portrayed on Western TV. 

“They tend to be much more open to the local culture than the Europeans who came to Africa in the past, much more willing to learn the language,” he says. “They’re pretty dynamic.” 

“One of my characters is a Chinese woman living in Kinshasa and I think it would be great to have a Chinese actress on screen speaking Lingala and French in addition to Cantonese.”

Djo will be shopping around the treatment for Inspector Lou, which he plans to make through his own Suka! production shingle, tapping African, Chinese and European funding.

His last feature, Viva Riva!, was a Congolese, French, Belgium and South African co-production and tapped funding from Canal Plus as well as Belgium’s film fund. Music Box picked up the drama for U.S. release after its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival last year. Beta Cinema, which handled world sales on Viva Riva! is also attached to Inspector Lou.