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A THREE-PART ANIMATED DOCU-FICTION SERIES FOLLOWING THE COMING-OF-AGE ADVENTURES OF AN 8-YEAR-OLD CONGOLESE BOY

AKESI AND THE CONGO RIVER

Meet Akesi, an eight-year-old living in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. Struggling to cope with the recent loss of his brother, he explores the topics of grief, trust, and bravery with the help of the enchanted Congo River and his family’s trusted totem animal: a playful gecko. On his journey, he learns about his ancestral history, local mythologies, and the surrounding ecosystems through important and engaging life lessons.

ABOUT THE SERIES

Akesi and the Congo River is a three-part, animated docu-fiction series following the coming-of-age adventures of Akesi, an 8-year-old Congolese boy struggling with the loss of his brother.

Using a blend of animation and green screens, hosts are able to transport children through the Congo Basin, across the Congo River and through timezones and eras to connect with the country’s culture, no matter where the viewers are based.

Akesi is currently making his way through film festivals around the world. Keep an eye on this page to see when Akesi and the Congo River is coming to a cinema near you!

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MEET OUR
INTERNATIONAL HOSTS

Each adventure is available in five languages: English, Dutch, German, French and Lingala. Our hosts include: Sasheer Zamata, a former Saturday Night Live cast member and writer; Akwasi, a musician and self-professed ‚creative centipede‘; Teddy Teclebrhan, comedian and host of Teddy Comedy; Jeny Bonsenge choreographer and influencer; and Gaz Mawete, a musician.

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ABOUT TALES OF US

Tales of Us is a non-profit production company that aims to tell the stories of people and places around the Earth. With connection and awareness at our core, we use local knowledge as a foundation to bring the world of storytelling to people across the planet.

Our first projects, the book Congo Tales (Random House, 2018) and the children’s film The Little Fish and the Crocodile, brought a new level of access and knowledge about the Congo rainforest and its communities to the world. By amplifying the voices and the culture of the people who live there, rather than excluding them, they brought a much-needed understanding to the intersectional aspects of conserving the Congo rainforest.

The work of Congo Tales staged and photographed the mythologies of people living in and around Mbomo, a small town based in the Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the Republic of Congo. It became a global news story, featured on major news outlets such as The New York Times, BBC News, PBS NewsHour, and many more. The short children’s film The Little Fish and the Crocodile, based on a Congolese myth, placed or won at over a dozen major international film festivals, including winning at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival.

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01 AKESI AND THE SECRETS OF THE FOREST

‚Akesi and the Secrets of the Forest’ introduces young Akesi in his hometown of Brazzaville. As he tries to make sense of his brother’s death, Akesi is led to the Congo river by his family’s magical totem animal: a gecko. A mystical journey to the rainforest unfolds as Akesi discovers the beauty of the cultures that surround him. He learns how people living in the forest celebrate those they’ve loved and lost; allowing Akesi to make peace with the death of his brother Momboti.

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02 AKESI AND THE LOSS OF THE BATEKE KINGDOM

‘Akesi and the Loss of the Bateke Kingdom’ explores the history of the Republic of Congo and the deception that led to its occupation by French colonisers. Akesi watches from afar as history unfolds right before his eyes. Unable to influence change with his present understanding, he learns the importance of honesty and trust.

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03 AKESI AND THE FIGHT FOR INDEPENDENCE

‘Akesi and the Fight for Independence’ is the third and final episode of the series. Akesi faces his fears by standing up for himself and his little sister as he draws from the life lessons he has mastered on hope and strength. The final lesson he learns is about Patrice Lumumba, the first Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and how his resilience led to the independence of his homeland in 1960.

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Did you enioy our journey? Then get to know Tales of Us, the collective behind Akesi and the Congo River series here

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