BYU professors produce first Congolese-American film
Colon Assany, second assistant director, holds the production slate as Moyindo Mopongo, Brandon Ray Olive, and Jospin Kapata get ready to film an action scene in the movie “Heart of Africa.” (BIMPA Production, Congo Rising and Purdie Distribution) It all started with letters.
Margaret Young and her husband, Bruce, were serving in the Provo MTC in 2007 when Margaret started writing different missionaries, including Aime Mbuyi, a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Youngs had no idea that this small service would set them on course to co-produce the first Congolese-American feature film — and the first Latter-day Saint feature film to be produced in Africa by Africans.
Aime Mbuyi and his wife, Steffy, after their sealing in the Accra, Ghana Temple in 2014. (Aime Mbuyi, Congo Rising and Margaret Young)
Margaret learned that Mbuyi had originally been part of a revolutionary group before converting to the Church. She was fascinated by his story and felt it deserved to be told. When she attended Mbuyi’s wedding in 2014, she was introduced to Tshoper Kabambi, who would help shape her dream into a reality.
Kabambi was a young man who was looking to restore cinema to the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2017, he accepted Margaret’s offer to direct a film detailing Mbuyi’s story. The movie became the first ever to be directed, acted and shot in the DRC by native Congolese.