‘Death Metal Angola’ Documentary Explores Impact of Extreme Music in War-Torn Africa
'Death Metal Angola' is a new documentary which reveals the role that extreme music can have in the most unlikely of places.
Due to the AIDS epidemic and nearly 40 years of war, there is an estimated 1.5 million orphans in the country of Angola according to some sources. Fifty-five of those orphans are cared for by Sonia Ferreira, who runs the Okutiuka orphanage in Huambo, the second largest city in Angola. Ferreria's boyfriend, Wilker Flores, is a death metal musician, who uses the sonic assault of the world's most aggressive genre "to clear out the debris from all these years of war."
The duo's dream is to stage Angola's first-ever national rock concert and the filmmakers of 'Death Metal Angola' were there to document the entire effort. "A few years ago, I was traveling through Angola researching a ﬁlm about a railway when I stopped at the only cafe that served a decent cup of coffee in the bombed-out former capital, Huambo," begins 'Death Metal Angola' director Jeremy Xido. "A young man in a blue button down oxford shirt and tiny dread locks waved me over. I sat with him for a while and chatted. We talked about what I was doing there and I asked him about himself. He said he was a musician. Oh really? I asked, what do you play? He looked me right in the eye and said, “Death Metal.” Stunned, I asked him if he would play for me. He got very excited, said he’d ﬁnd an ampliﬁer somewhere and that I should meet him later that night at “the Orphanage,” and slipped me the address."
Xido continues, "I assumed it was some sort of club. However when I arrived in the middle of the night at what seemed like an abandoned milk factory in the middle of nowhere, it was clear that this was no club. There he was, Wilker Flores, the young man in a blue oxford, with tiny dreads and an electric guitar, surrounded by 55 orphaned boys who called this place home. Syphoning electricity from the neighbor, Wilker proceeded to play one of the hardest and harshest impromptu concerts imaginable, lit by nothing more than the head lights of van. It was absolutely magical and terrifying and it marked the beginning of my long and profound relationship with Wilker, as well as the woman who runs the Orphanage, Sonia Ferreira, who is one of the most remarkable people I have met in my life."
Update: 'Death Metal Angola' will be a part of New York's DOC NYC film festival. The film will be shown Saturday, Nov. 16 at the IFC Theater with a start time of 9:45PM. An after party, co-sponsored by Black Rock Coalition, will be held right after the screening with Unlocking the Truth headlining the night. Click here for ticket's to the screening. Additionally, the Fulbright Program will be holding a panel discussion on Nov. 18 at the IFC Center. Jeremy Xido will be a part of the panel, which will begin at 2PM. Click here for tickets to the panel.