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#CLE4DRC: Historic Tower Lighting For Peace in DR Congo

In 2017 Socent Studios journeyed to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to meet with members of LUCHA RD Congo. LUCHA (fight for change) is a nonviolent, non-partisan, youth-organized citizen movement made up of Congolese from all walks of life, origins and religions who share in a united desire for a truly independent, constitutional, democratic and prosperous Congo, and who militate for its advent through nonviolent actions. Today LUCHA poses the greatest resistance to DRC's dictator Joseph Kabila. As a result, LUCHA youth have been intimidated, arrested, tortured and killed by the Kabila-led state government. ​Unconscionably, Congo is home to the deadliest struggle for peace and human dignity since WWII (WEF).

After listening to their stories and learning of their unspeakable struggle Socent founder and CEO Justin Bastian made a promise to Congolese leaders atop Virunga's active startovolcano, Mount Nyiragongo. Justin promised that Socent Studios would return to the United States and light Northeast Ohio's iconic Terminal Tower for Congolese peace and dignity; that Socent would illuminate the darkness to show support and solidarity with all Congolese risking together nonviolently to end our world's deadliest war.

On April 2, 2018 Justin kept his promise and Socent Studios lit Northeast OH's iconic Terminal Tower the colors of Congo's flag. From twilight to dawn Cleveland, OH's landmark Tower and three other K&D Group buildings in Downtown Cleveland radiated with DRC's colors in global solidarity. Powered by unwaivering determination to keep a promise made to comrades atop Mount Nyiragongo, Socent Studios established Cleveland, OH as the first Western city in history to acknowledge Congolese hope and human dignity in such a way.

  • Mike Ramsdell
    Director
    When Elephants Fight, Anatomy of Hate, Rust Belt Renaissance, A World Game For Peace, #CLE4DRC, Yole!Africa, I Survived Ebola
  • Mike Ramsdell
    Writer
    When Elephants Fight, Anatomy of Hate, Rust Belt Renaissance, A World Game For Peace, #CLE4DRC, Yole!Africa, I Survived Ebola
  • Justin Bastian
    Writer
    Rust Belt Renaissance, A World Game For Peace, #CLE4DRC
  • Justin Bastina (Executive Producer)
    Producer
    Rust Belt Renaissance, A World Game For Peace, #CLE4DRC, Yole!Africa
  • Mike Ramsdell
    Producer
    When Elephants Fight, Anatomy of Hate, Rust Belt Renaissance, A World Game For Peace, #CLE4DRC, Yole!Africa, I Survived Ebola
  • Thomas Wasinski
    Aerial Photography
    Aerial Agents, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Cavaliers, WKYC
  • LUCHA DR Congo
    Key Cast
  • Socent Studios
    Key Cast
  • DR Congo
    Key Cast
  • Cleveland, OH
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary
  • Runtime:
    3 minutes 23 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 19, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    3,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Congo, United States
  • Language:
    English, French
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16.9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
Distribution Information
  • Socent Studios
    Country: United States
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Mike Ramsdell

Born and raised in Flint Michigan, Mike Ramsdell is a human rights activist, prominent Congo peace advocate, and award-winning writer, director, and producer. Growing up in a family dedicated to social causes—combined with an inherent love for storytelling—made directing documentary films a natural fit for Michael. After graduating from the North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Filmmaking he formed Under the Hood Productions with the goal of creating films that inform and advance the collective conscience of today.

To illuminate Congo’s human rights crisis, Mike dedicated his life to creating, When Elephants Fight, a documentary that takes a penetrating look at injustices in Congo, a country rich in copper, tin, tungsten, tantalum, gold, and other minerals but whose people rarely prosper. WEF spotlights the story multinationals and global tech corporations don't want to tell--the story of our world's deadliest war and their complicity in the illicit extraction and trade of Congolese minerals.

Narrated by Robin Wright and featuring Fidel Bafilemba, WEF is a United Nations Association, Bermuda and Edinburgh International, Montreal World Film Festival screened and Human DOC award-winning documentary. At great risk to their lives, WEF is also the only DRC documentary to be screened in Congo by Congolese, for Congolese.

Prior to WEF, Mike produced the Anatomy of Hate, a documentary which reveals the shared narratives found in individual and collective ideologies of hate, and how we as a species can overcome them. For six years Mike worked with unprecedented access to some of the most venomous ideologies and violent conflicts of our time including the white supremacist movement, Christian Fundamentalism as an anti-gay platform, Muslim extremism, the Palestinian Intifada, Israeli settlers and soldiers, and US Forces in Iraq.

By juxtaposing this vérité footage with interviews from leading sociological, psychological, and neurological experts, and interspersing stories of redemption told by former "combatants", the film weaves a tapestry that reveals both the emotional and biological mechanisms which make all of us susceptible to acts and ideologies of hate, and demonstrates how these very same traits make us equally capable of overcoming them.

The Anatomy of Hate: A Dialogue to Hope, has been distributed around the world, including the US, Canada, France, Spain and Australia and nominated for Film of the Year on the Documentary Film Channel.

His first film, Montclair, won Best Screenplay at the Universal Studios Cinema City Film Festival.

When not traveling, Mike spends as much time as possible with his three children, Lincoln, Nimrie, and Asher.

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