With Blood in the Mobile
, Danish director Frank Poulsen dives into the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to document a vicious cycle of conflict that has claimed millions of lives, produced rampant humanitarian abuses
, and is driven in part (though not entirely
, it should be noted) by the area’s rich mineral resources – all under the noses of the world’s largest peacekeeping operation.
The minerals extracted in the eastern DRC – tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold, mainly from North and South Kivu provinces – are used in cell phones around the world. The trailer shows Poulsen gaining access to an enormous tin mine in the area – the biggest illegal mine in the Congo, he says – capturing powerful footage of the squalid and dangerous conditions that thousands of often-teenage workers labor under for days at a time.
“Four years ago this place was nothing but jungle,” narrates Poulsen. “Today, 15,000-20,000 people are working here [and] different armed groups are fighting to gain control over the mine.”
Though Poulsen is pictured making dramatic phone calls to Nokia (the largest cell phone manufacturer in the world), the issue of conflict minerals from the DRC and places like it is in fact more than just a blip on the radar screens of most leading technology companies. The NGO the Enough Project in particular has been championing the cause and bringing it to tech companies’ doorsteps for quite some time. Their efforts have helped produce an action plan for certifying conflict-free supply chains (complete with company rankings) and also helped lead to passage of the United States’ first law addressing conflict minerals this fall.
However, Poulsen’s message of the developed world taking responsibility for sourcing is commendable. Efforts like this that have led to the adoption of corporate responsibility initiatives like the Cardin-Lugar amendment, a similar measure in the works for the European Union, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and the Kimberley Process for diamonds.
Blood in the Mobile premiered this fall at the International Documentary Film Festival and the producers are “in dialogue with different U.S. distributors,” according to their Facebook page, where those interested are advised to stay tuned.
Sources: BloodintheMobile.org, Enough Project, EurActiv.
Video Credit: Blood in the Mobile Official Trailer.