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The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) though rich in natural resources remains one of the poorest countries in the developing world due to years of socio-economic instability brought about by longstanding civil war and famine. As a country it has some of the lowest standards of women’s rights, with the eastern province of South Kivu representing one of the most dangerous regions for women and girls. There is a saying in the DRC: ‘Your child is only yours when it reaches its fifth year’. Due to a lack of pre/post natal care and sanitation, it is commonplace that childbirth results in the death of both the mother and the child.

New life in Congo documents how these statistics can be greatly reduced via a new approach in Development Aid: Performance Based Financing (PBF). This revolutionary program focuses on financing individuals and small groups instead of failing governments. The film demonstrates the positive impact PBF has on the Congolese healthcare system due to the unique way programs are developed, implemented, and financially supported.Communities and individuals are empowered to take charge of the provision for their healthcare needs.

We follow two Congolese women: Byenda, 23 who just gave birth to her third child; and Arial who is expecting her seventh child. Both women live a life fraught with challenges including a lack of food and the ever-looming threat of sexual violence. Nevertheless, they are optimistic and continue to fight for a better existence. With the implementation of PBF in the health care system Byenda and Aurélie, supported by doctors and nurses, are able to bare their children in healthier conditions.

The film was realised in collaboration with Cordaid Netherlands and was selected for: New Filmmakers WinterFest New York, January 2015 / DocPoint Helsinki Documentary Film Festival, January 2014 / Somnio Festival Alkmaar, September 2012 (rough cut).

Photos © Chris van Houts.

Click here to watch the film.

2012 LIVE TO BE A HUNDRED – A Year in the Life of Ton Koopman

‘Live to Be a Hundred’ gives us an unique inside view of the various activities that the multi-talented Ton Koopman carries out over the course of one year. We follow the famous Baroque musician on tour with his Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir, see him at work as a guest conductor in Madrid, as professor of musicology in Leiden. Elsewhere we witness the preparations for a concert in France, have an up-close view of the virtuoso harpsichordist at work during a master class at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and follow him as he organizes the recording of the Haydn Organ Concertos in a church in Haarlem.

The picture that emerges is that of a man with uncustomary energy and vitality who inspires people wherever he goes. It’s a rich and rewarding life, yet one that would be impossible without the support of Tini Mathot, his wife and lifelong musical companion. Her love, patience and dedication shines through every frame of this film. As does the gorgeous Baroque music we all know so well, from Monteverdi to Bach, from Händel to Haydn. Classical megastar Jordi Savall pays his respects in a rare duo-performance.

Theatrical release in the Netherlands, October 2012 / World-wide DVD release as part of the “Opera Omnia” Buxtehude Collector’s Box, October 2014 / Dutch TV premiere BravaNL, December 2014 / CIMMfest (Chicago International Movies and Music Festival), April 2016 / The Berkeley Festival of Early Music, June 2016 / Bachcelona Festival Barcelona, July 2016. Click here to watch the trailer.

The press about LIVE TO BE A HUNDRED:

“An entertaining film.” – Le Monde

“An insightful film about the life of a passionate and inspiring artist.” – De Telegraaf

“Hegeman captures Koopman’s musical passion perfectly.” – NRC

“The image that emerges from the film is that of an inexhaustible man and artist and Hegeman captures that smartly while filming Ton Koopman on the go.” – Cinemagazine