Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Voyage Through The Heart Of Africa

VPR Audio Engineer John Billingsley on Location in Africa
VPR’s John Billingsley works magic with audio for his day job, but he’s also a film producer.  Billingsly co-directed and produced the documentary film Liemba, which will be screened in New York City on the 18th.

Liemba takes the viewer on an epic journey down the longest lake in the world on Africa’s last surviving steamship, the MV Liemba.  A voyage down Lake Tanganyika aboard the Liemba reveals how people living along the remote shores of the lake continue to rely on this battered old relic of the German colonial era for their livelihood as they have for almost 100 years.

The MV Liemba is a vital lifeline for otherwise isolated communities; the principle means of transport for cargo and people traveling throughout Africa and a meeting place where Africans from all walks of life come together.  Billingsley says the Liemba is a microcosm of the contintent.  “Traveling to Africa with this project was a dream come true.  Interviewing people, shooting video and recording music as we traveled down Lake Tanganyiga was a incredible experience.”

The New York screening is Saturday, the 18th on the deck of the Lilac, a 1930s lighthouse tender that is now a nautical museum docked in Tribeca.  We plan to screen the documentary here at VPR in the near future.

More about Liemba 
John's Production Company:  Breadbox Productions
The German government recently announced plans to refurbish the MV Liemba. 

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