‘House of Cards’ star Wright to visit Island
House of Cards star Robin Wright will be in Bermuda this week to discuss the locally backed documentary she narrates on the dire human toll exacted by two decades of civil war in the mineral-rich Congo.
Documentary filmmaker Mike Ramsdell’s When Elephants Fight, produced with the support of benefactors on the Island, had its world premiere at the Bermuda International Film Festival in March.
It has subsequently been shown to wide acclaim at film festivals throughout North America and Europe.
Ms Wright, Mr Ramsdell and producer JD Stier — campaign manager for the Stand With Congo charitable initiative — will attend a private presentation at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art on Saturday to explain how the film is helping to raise international awareness of the continuing humanitarian crisis.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, in Central Africa, is home to vast deposits of copper, coltan and other minerals increasingly sought by Western electronics manufacturers.
But the fight to control the country’s natural resources among competing Congolese factions has brought poverty, corruption and decades of unending warfare to the country while armed groups and multinational corporations continue to profit hugely.
“Rather than improving life for the world’s poorest people, billions of dollars have either been looted from the country or redirected to local militias in the eastern Congo, fuelling a war that has cost five million lives and counting since 1996,” a spokesman for the producers said. “It may one day come to be known as the worst human atrocity in modern history.”
The film came about after Mr Ramsdall delivered a TedXBermuda presentation on his project, then a work-in-progress, in 2012.
“It was through the philanthropic support of a handful of people from Bermuda that this film got made,” Mr Ramsdell told The Royal Gazette this year. “That’s how the story ended up being told.
“They really made this happen. I can’t say it wouldn’t have happened without them, but I can say it certainly wouldn’t have happened as quickly. “It was very much a Bermuda-supported effort to bring this story to light.”
The film takes its title from the African proverb “When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers” — meaning the weak are invariably trampled as a consequence of conflicts between the strong and powerful.
A high-profile advocate of African causes, Ms Wright first travelled to the Congo five years ago.
“[That trip] enlightened me about the correlation between our electronics that we use every single day and minerals coming from the Congo,” Wright explained to Vanity Fair magazine recently. “A woman is raped every 48 minutes in the Congo because the militias are coming in and dismantling families around the regions of the mines.
“We’re exacerbating the problem by buying. So, it’s basically cleaning up the trade, exactly the same template as blood diamonds.”
She has lobbied Washington lawmakers and written editorials for CNN.com and Time.com on atrocities in the Congo and partnered with US companies to sponsor infrastructure projects in the war-torn country.
A Golden Globe winner for her role as Machiavellian First Lady and US Ambassador to the United Nations in the acclaimed Netflix political drama House of Cards, Ms Wright has also appeared in such films as The Princess Bride, Forrest Gump and Moneyball and co-stars in the upcoming adventure thriller Everest.