Nganji Mutiri is an award-wining artist born in Bukavu (DRC) and currently living in Belgium. He works in theatre, cinema, poetry and photography, always looking for connections and perspectives between the singular and the universal.
JUWAA is his first feature film as a writer/director.
2012 Condamné short
2014 Gni Ts Ac short
2016 Le Soleil Dans Les Yeux short
2021 Juwaa feature film
When they tried to kill my father in 1996, he wasn’t home but my mother, my younger sister and I had to face the traumatic attack and looting that occurred that night in Kinshasa. “They” were corrupted military officers paid by political enemies. Less than a week after that assassination attempt, my family and I had to flee the country and find refuge in Belgium.
The core inspiration of JUWAA is the decades-long complex and necessary healing process that began after the attack. Countless times I had nothing but silences as answers to my pressing questions about how to mentally survive in this new Belgian life of ours. Thankfully, I was able to find a bit of solace in avidly reading books, befriending people from diverse backgrounds, and in my growing hunger for artistic expression.
Love and a trip back to Congo (for the first time after ten years of exile) helped me embrace my plural identity as a human being. Embracing our plural identities inspired my JUWAA team and I to create a family drama about multi-layered African characters without the usual clichés we see on screens when it comes to darker skinned people.
It is a huge but rewarding challenge to finance, produce and distribute refreshing films that try to transcend class, race, gender and spiritual taboos. And I believe, since we are all complex human beings, when a story is authentically crafted it leaves a beautiful impact in us and opens doors that are as singular as they are universal.
Learning, loving, and sharing my artistic craft with that belief has become my favorite therapy.