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photo © Catarina von Richthofen

35 COWS AND A KALASHNIKOV is a film about African pride. Directed by Oswald von Richthofen and produced by Roland Emmerich, two old film school friends. It is not a classical documentary about Africa. No boy soldiers. No hunger. No safaris. But rather a poetic tribute to the eternal beauty and sublime strength of the continent. An homage to the Surma tribe of Southern Ethiopia, the dandy movement of Brazzaville, and the voodoo wrestlers in Kinshasa.

Archaic roots, colonial influence and Western phenomena, all exist in today’s Africa. The filmmakers show three unusual facets of the continent. The result pushes the boundaries of cinematic aesthetics. Bold images and daring editing create a captivating way of storytelling, of poetry. 35 COWS AND A KALASHNIKOV will illuminate your view of the Dark Continent.

Ossie von Richthofen was born 1955 in Germany and raised in Djidda, Khartum, and Singapore. He started his film career at the University of Television and Film in Munich in 1977, where he met fellow student Roland Emmerich with whom he enlisted in the Directing program and shortly afterwards co-directed their first student film. Thirty years of collaboration and friendship continued in which Richthofen pursued a successful career in advertising and music videos. He headed up one of Europe’s leading production companies, personally producing hundreds of premium commercials. In 2004 he teamed up again with Emmerich and co-produced 10,000 B.C. and TRADE. Having travelled and worked together in Africa over the years, Richthofen and Emmerich became avid collectors and keen appreciators of African art. With the trilogy 35 COWS AND A KALASHNIKOV, which had its world premiere at DOK Fest Munich, Richthofen and Emmerich strove to pay artistic tribute to a very special continent. Ossie von Richthofen died in August 2013.
Genre Art, Educational
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2014
Director Ossie von Richthofen
Cinematography Gernot Aschoff
Producers Ossie von Richthofen, Roland Emmerich
Co-Producers Claudius Lohmann, Nikolaus Lohmann
Production Company Oswald von Richthofen Filmproduktion/Munich, in co-production with Lohmann Medien/Berlin
Length 83 min
Format DCP, color, 1:1.85
Original Version
 Suri, Lingala, French
Subtitled Version English
Festivals DOK Fest Munich 2014, IDFA 2014, New Horizons Wroclaw 2015

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