CONGO – THE GRAND INGA PROJECT
USA, 81 minutes, 2012
Directed by Steve Fisher
Friday February 15th, 7:30pm
Pacific Cinemateque MAP
Buy Tickets Here
They are the world's highest-volume rapids, 1.6 million cubic feet per second, thundering down the final pitch as the mighty Congo River empties into the ocean. For centuries, explorers have tried to conquer these rapids, but none succeeded.
"It would be insanity in a successor," wrote famed explorer Henry M. Stanley, in 1877, after his right-hand man drowned attempting to run the Inga Rapids. "There's nothing shameful in portaging," said Col. Blashford-Snell about his team’s highly publicized attempt in 1974. And popular French TV host Philippe De Dieuleveult never had the chance to comment, as the entire team who attempted the rapids with him, mysteriously vanished in 1985.
Recently awarded 'BEST FILM' at the X-Dance Film Festival in Salt Lake City - the world's premiere action sports film Festival, CONGO – The Grand Inga Project chronicles legendary kayaker Steve Fisher and his elite expedition team as they battle seemingly insurmountable obstacles, navigate the maddening politics of a crooked country, and face their own worst fears in an attempt to be the first explorers ever to survive the Inga Rapids. “This is a river like no other, and these rapids were a big step more difficult than we'd anticipated,” says Fisher, recalling 20-foot breaking waves, deadly whirlpools, and basketball court-sized hydraulics. "We may have survived these rapids, but somehow we feel more humbled than proud."
With years of experience as athletes, explorers and cinematographers, Fisher and his team, bring you what he aptly describes as, “athlete-generated content.” Thanks to recent advancements in point-of-view camera equipment, he’s able to bring viewers inside his tight crew of paddlers and onto the rapids, while along the way meeting and surpassing the production value expected by today's audiences. In CONGO, no effort is spared in telling the story of what really happens when you decide to take on the deadliest rapids on earth.
Director, Steve Fisher
Arguably the finest expedition paddler on the planet, Fisher, 36, has had his sights set on the Inga Rapids since he was a nine-year-old boy growing up on a farm in rural Estcourt, South Africa. He first heard of the rapids in the early 1980s when news reports told how seven members of the French Africa-Raft Expedition mysteriously disappeared trying to run Inga.
Now, 26 years later, Fisher is a full-fledged whitewater superhero and uniquely capable to tackle Inga. Since turning pro in 1999, he won countless freestyle competitions and downriver races. He was named “World’s Best Kayaker” by Paddler Magazine in 2003, the same year he decided to turn his back on the competition scene and focus solely on expedition paddling. Since that time, Fisher, who now lives in Tacoma, Washington, has run dozens of major first descents worldwide including the MayKha River in Myanmar, and Tibet’s Yarlung Tsangpo. In one way or another, every first descent he’s logged prepared Fisher for this expedition on the Inga Rapids.
Fisher's production Company; Fish Munga, specializes in outdoor and action sports. They’re a band of truly international adventurers who find their roots in the sports and environments that they capture. As a mix of professional athletes-turned-filmmakers, film school graduates and musicians they’ve rolled cameras in every corner of the globe and boast the full spectrum of technical know-how, artistic creativity and the ability go longer, harder and faster to get the shot!