A film project under strain

By Audrey SomnardLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

When a Luxembourg director finds himself in dispute with a financially troubled production company, his documentary is stuck. Here's a look back at an affair that is shaking up the film industry.

With a producer embroiled in scandal and persona non grata at the Film Fund, ex-employees and managers reporting holes in the books, unpaid salaries and charges pressed, it's in the midst of all this that the Boxing Stories project remains stuck in the development stage. A mess denounced by its director, who is desperate for his documentary to be released. It was during a visit to Luxembourg that we met the artist Alain Tshinza. The Luxembourger now lives in Canada, but he returns regularly to Luxembourg, the country to which he dedicated his latest documentary, Boxing Stories. In it, he recounts a very personal story, that of his family and the Congolese boxers who came to Luxembourg in the 1970s. "The Congolese diaspora came to mainly Esch and Differdange, through sport and boxing in particular. At the time, Luxembourg wanted to be more competitive in Europe, and this was what was known as the 'Zaire network'. It was the birth of the black community in Luxembourg, through boxing. Through my father's story, it's the story of all the blacks in Luxembourg, a dozen boxers who started to this diaspora."

The artist had already made a documentary in 2010, Hamilius: Hip Hop Culture in Luxembourg, but this project is particularly close to his heart. To achieve it, he proposed his idea to a production company, Wady Films, which was recommended to him. The year was 2020. His project won them over and he signed a transfer of rights contract. In December 2020, test shooting began with a co-director, and Alain Tshinza piloted his project from Canada, where he was already resident. But the shoot went badly and the partners at Wady Film were not reassuring. "It was complicated because I wasn't on site and it was hard to keep track of everything that was going on, " he says. Despite all this, filming continued and Alain Tshinza travelled to the Congo in 2021 to scout out locations, conduct interviews and collect archive photos for his film.

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