Blog: Dispatches from Bukavu and Beyond

CITY OF JOY Documentary to be Featured as Centerpiece Film at the Athena Film Festival in NYC

athenacoj2Coming off of a wildly successful world premiere at DOC NYC Film Festival, the documentary film CITY OF JOY is set to be the Centerpiece film at the Athena Film Festival in NYC.

CITY OF JOY tells the story of the first class of girls at a remarkable center in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Directed by first time director, Madeleine Gavin, it tells of the visionaries who imagined a revolutionary place where women who have suffered horrific rape and abuse, learn to lead amidst a war driven by greed, economics and colonialism. The film shares the unlikely friendship that develops when a devout Congolese doctor, Dr. Denis Mukwege, (2016 Nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize), radical playwright and activist, Eve Ensler, (Tony Award winning playwright of The Vagina Monologue) and a charismatic Congolese human rights activist, Christine Schuler-Deschryver, (Director of the City of Joy) join forces to create this safe haven in the middle of violence-torn Eastern Congo, a place they call The City of Joy. And it is the story of the incomprehensible power of the human spirit as we witness our characters’ discovery of hope, even when so much of what was meaningful to them has long been stripped away.

Immediately following the screening, there will be a talkback featuring Eve Ensler, City of Joy Director Christine Schuler Deschryver, director Madeleine Gavin – moderated by V-Day Board Member Pat Mitchell.

Saturday, 11 February, 8PM
Miller Theater, 2960 Broadway, Columbia University
Adult: $12; Student: $5

We have a special $2 discount code off Adult tickets – 17SPONAFF2.

PURCHASE Tickets to CITY OF JOY at the Athena Film Festival >


WATCH the trailer for CITY OF JOY >

Madeleine Gavin’s debut feature, City of Joy, is as heartbreaking as it is uplifting, as shocking as it is life affirming. Ever since the two Congo civil wars of the 1990s, rape has been used as a horrific military tactic in the country; hundreds of thousands of women and children have been and continue to be attacked repeatedly by members of militias who are attempting to gain access to the country’s rich mineral resources, including coltan, tin, tungsten, and gold, which are much sought after by global corporations. In 2007, gynecologist/obstetrician Dr. Denis Mukwege, activist Christine Schuler-Deschryver, and playwright Eve Ensler cofounded the City of Joy, a securely walled and guarded safe space in Bukavu in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo where survivors of rape and sexual violence come to get their life back, learning to reclaim control of their bodies and their minds.”

READ Mark Rifkin’s 4 out of 4 stars review online in THIS WEEK IN NEW YORK >

PURCHASE Tickets to CITY OF JOY at the Athena Film Festival >

Eve Ensler to be Honored at the Athena Film Festival

In addition to screening CITY OF JOY, the Athena Film Festival has named Eve as one of its 2017 honorees alongside Patricia Riggen and Regina K. Scully (Founder of Artemis Rising and also a V-Day Board Member), and David Oyelowo who is receiving the 2017 Athena Leading Man Award.

“The Athena Film Festival celebrates the leadership and creative accomplishments of trailblazers in the entertainment industry who continue to break boundaries. The festival showcases films about powerful and courageous women leaders in real life and the fictional world; it is a weekend dedicated to elevating female voices and stories to inspire and empower a new generation of filmmakers and individuals.”

READ the full press release >

City of Joy in Congo

COY_10th_grad_celebrationWant to learn more about revolutionary center that is featured in the documentary?

The City of Joy is a revolutionary center for women survivors of gender violence in Bukavu, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Created, designed, and run by Congolese, this groundbreaking six month healing and leadership initiative serving up to 90 women at a time has to date graduated 849 women, who have gone on to become leaders in their communities.

LEARN more about the City of Joy in DRC >
READ the blog Dispatches from Bukavu and Beyond >
DONATE to City of Joy >