A new film series exploring the lives of African Saints who thirsted for tranquility and found personal peace in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
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Preview Video on DR Congo Episodes
Junior Banza takes you on a quick trip to the heart of Africa for a glimpse of some of the personal stories that will be featured in future episodes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are you doing this?
To tell some the little-known yet highly inspiring stories of the Saints in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo, formerly Zaïre) in celebration of the upcoming dedication of the Lubumbashi temple. Additional episodes will tell the stories of Latter-day Saints in the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi. The scope of the series may eventually extend to other parts of Africa.
Who is the audience?
The series is aimed at an “Africa first” viewership. However, we expect it will also provide vivid reminders to people throughout the world of the truth and goodness of the Gospel.
Who is behind the effort?
The film series is produced by the Interpreter Foundation, a non-profit organization whose aim is to support the Church through scholarship. The point of contact for the project is Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. We are working in association with Redbrick Filmworks, an award-winning Latter-day Saint producer of inspirational media.
Is the Church History department involved?
Yes, we are striving for strict historical accuracy of the events portrayed in the film and simply could not succeed without the cooperation of the Church History department. A memo of understanding provides guidance on roles, relationships, and intellectual property issues. Interpreter is recognized by the Church as an “independent advocate” and has previously provided limited financial support for Interpreter’s mission. However, the Church provides no explicit or implied endorsement of Interpreter projects.
How are African members involved in the project?
African members of the Church are involved in many facets of the production, including:
- Local film production. Nearly all of the scenes are being shot on-site in Africa with local members participating in interviews, reenactments, and technical roles.
- Script consultation and narration. Junior Banza, whose family was among the first to join the Church in the DR Congo, has donated his time as a key team member to ensure cultural richness and authenticity in how the stories are told. Instead of anonymous voiceovers, we are treated to his warm visual presence as a narrator. Other African members narrate inspiring autobiographical stories.
- Music. Our production will highlight traditional, religious, and contemporary music from African artists, including R Néphi Kaluwa and others.
What will the series look like?
The series is structured as a series of episodes, typically from 8 to 12 minutes long. Each episode is separately filmed and narrated in French and English, with subtitles in both languages. We will also release several bonus shorts.
When will it be completed?
A preliminary version of the first, introductory episode is posted on the website home page. In the second half of 2024, we will begin releasing a few more episodes, including the story of Willy Binene Sabwe and Lilly Kabumba Sabwe. We plan to have the essential stories complete prior to the dedication of the Lubumbashi temple, currently anticipated for 2025–26. Additional episodes, such as the story of the construction and dedication of the Kananga and Brazzaville temples and the stories of Saints in other African countries, will naturally follow at later times.
How is the series financed?
Through generous in-kind donations of time and resources by volunteers, we aim to finish the film series for a small fraction of the typical costs of similar productions. On-site filming in Africa in May–June 2023 was made possible through seed funding from the Interpreter Foundation and the very generous production rate afforded by Redbrick Filmworks for a continuous month of action-packed filming fieldwork.
Now comes the mountain of post-production work as well as additional production in Africa. We are looking to friends like you to help us finish the series on time through your donations.
How will the Church and its members benefit from the project?
The project is conceived as a not-for-profit effort, in the hope that this video history will be a blessing to members of the Church in Africa and worldwide. Because of our interest in making these stories available to as many people as possible, the Interpreter Foundation will provide non-exclusive rights to the Church. The film series will be available for worldwide distribution through online sources at no cost.
Aren’t there more urgent needs in Africa?
Our answer to this question is found in the words of Jesus: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke 4:4). While essential charitable efforts provide the daily “bread” that permits struggling souls to live, the “word of God” inspires believers with the will to love—and to nourish hope in Christ despite hardship. The film series will demonstrate the spiritual and practical relevance of Jesus’ words in the lives of African Saints.