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by Elvis Sabin Ngaïbino
Central African Republic/ Argentina/ Italy 2020 I Documentary I OmeU I 73 min


André and Albert, two young Aka Pygmies, live in Mongoumba (Central African Republic), in the middle of the Congo Basin. Despite financial difficulties and the stigmatization at school due to their ethnicity, André and Albert also struggle to reach the learning level of the other students. But at the same time, they have a dream: to provide education for the other Aka Pygmies children. Every afternoon after their class, they walk along winding paths, with a blackboard on their shoulder and slates in their pockets, to their “forest students,” children of all ages who do not attend school, to teach them how to read and write. They intend to finance this project by selling caterpillars (makongo), the main source of income for the pygmies, and so they set off for the market in the main town of Makongo…

ELVIS SABIN NGAIBINO, born in 1985 in Bangui in the Central African Republic, has a degree in geology and has always dreamed of working in the field of cinema. In 2012, he and his friends founded the Académie du Cinéma Centrafricain, an association that brings together cinema lovers. With limited means, he produced and shot small films for Central African television, until the day his path crossed with that of Ateliers Varan, which trained him in documentary filmmaking and allowed him to shoot Docta Jefferson, the portrait of a pharmacist from his neighborhood that was shown at several international film festivals. Makongo (Caterpillars) is his first feature-length documentary; it won an award at the Cinéma du Réel festival in Paris.