Maisha Film

Karibu! Here, we have all the information about our new documentary film, Maisha: A New Life Outside the Mines. It takes you inside the copper and cobalt mines of Democratic Republic of the Congo, the first rung of the global supply chain of “digital minerals” that is trapping millions in poverty.

In the Spring 2015, our filmmakers were granted unprecedented access to the artisanal pit mines around Kolwezi, located in the DRC's mineral-rich Katanga region. This little known part of the world powers our digital age, giving us the raw materials for mobile phones, computers and the long-life batteries. There they found an appalling level of human misery and exploitation. They also found a powerful grassroots project run by the Good Shepherd Sisters that is helping the most at-risk by building an alternative to the mines.

This program opened an informal school for for nearly 1,100 ex-child miners, established a cooperative farm to provide food security for dozens of families and offered more than 150 former miners girls and women training in tailoring and catering/food production.


The 30-minute film, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, offers a rare, up-close look inside the harsh -- and even lethal -- world of artisanal copper and cobalt mining. The film shares a hopeful message as well, showing how an impoverished Congolese community is beating the odds to to build a better, more sustainable tomorrow, and in turn laying waste to the cycle of poverty, exploitation and abuse that traps so many here.

Maisha: A New Life Outside the Mines was filmed and written by journalists/film producers Luca Paradiso and Bernhard Warner  in Kolwezi -- the Katanga province of the DRC -- in April/May, 2015. Post-production was overseen by Giampaolo Bisegna in Rome.


Special Award - Best Ethnografic Film - Vaasa Festival 2016, Finland (Sept 28 - Oct 2)

Best Documentary Short Film Award - Human Rights Film FestivalBarcelona (December 2016)

2017 Film Festival Screenings:

Nepal Human Rights International Film Festival - Kathmandu (March 17-19)

5th International Children's Rights Film Festival - Bursa/Turkey (May 13-30)

Sunlight International Film Festival - Moscow, (October 25-26) 

2016 Film Festival Screenings:

Human District Film Festival in Belgrade (June 25)

Social Machinery Film Festival, Mantova, Italy (July 28-30)

The 14° FESTIVAL INTERNACIONAL SIGNOS DE LA NOCHE in Quito, Ecuador (August 29 - September 3, 2016)

Vaasa Festival 2016 in Vaasa, Finland (Sept 28th - Oct 2nd)

14° Festival internacional Signos da Noite Lisboa, Lisbon (Oct 1-9, 2016)

Human Rights Film Festival of Barcelona/NYC/Paris in November/December, 2016.

The debut film screening was in Rome on 29 October, 2015. It was followed by a round-table discussion on the perils of the Congolese artisanal mining sector and the limitations of current legislation to curb the flow of conflict minerals into the development of products that we all use. In February, 2016, we screened Maisha at the United Nations during the 54th Session of the UN Commission on Social Development.

If you'd like to have us schedule a screening in your city, please let us know. Send a note to Cristina Duranti at


You may have seen a "donate" button above. Please note 100% of donations go to fund the Good Shepherd Kolwezi project featured in the film, to help pay for hot school meals and materials for the classroom. We are grateful for all the support we've received to date. Asante sana!

For further information about the living conditions of children and women in artisanal mining communities and the GS program in DRC



Maisha film trailer