Lightdox Boards CPH:DOX Competition Entry ‘The Other Profile’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Swiss sales agent Lightdox has acquired international rights for “The Other Profile” by French director Armel Hostiou (“Day,” “Stubborn,” “The Invisible Pyramid”), which is nominated for the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival’s top Dox:Award.

The film’s starting point is when he discovers the existence of a Facebook doppelganger whose friends are mostly women based in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This other Facebook profile organizes auditions for an upcoming film to be shot in the DRC.

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After notifying Facebook about what clearly seems to be identity theft, Hostiou receives an answer informing him that it is not a fake profile and cannot be shut down, leading to what he describes as a “Kafkaesque” situation.

“When I got this answer, which implicitly suggested that I might be the fake since the other one wasn’t, it felt absurd, like the beginning of a fantasy film,” Hostiou tells Variety.

This marks the beginning of a surreal journey to Kinshasa to try and find his doppelganger.

Along the way, Hostiou makes new friends at the artists’ residency where he is staying in Kinshasa, who decide to help him in his investigation. It takes on an increasingly unexpected turn as he discovers a country and a culture unknown to him.

“The film starts as an investigation into what appears to be identity theft but then takes on a more metaphysical dimension on the theme of the double – and it was interesting to see how this film takes us down a mysterious path, which we had not anticipated.”

Hostiou explains how he discovered a country filled with the promise of countless stories to tell.

“Thanks to this scam, I was able to discover Congo and meet these people, who became my friends,” he explains, adding with a smile: “I like the fact that, in the end, a bit like in the Dostoevsky novel “The Double,” my own double takes my place and starts to make his own film inside the film.”

Asked about his own relation to social media, the filmmaker calls it “a trap our generation has fallen into”: “Like guinea pigs, we’ve all dived into it.

“The big trap is that people are working for free: everyone becomes their own entrepreneur, everyone has their own little brand that they promote. And they are creating content for other people to make money from off – it’s very perverse and it says a lot about the excesses of capitalism.”

“The Other Profile” is Hostiou’s second feature-length documentary and picked up the Work in Progress Award at last year’s Visions du Reel documentary film festival in Nyon. It is produced by Jasmina Sijercic for Bocalupo Films with support from France’s CNC.

Lightdox co-founder Bojana Marić said of the acquisition: “Armel Hostiou pushes the boundaries of the documentary genre in a unique way, mixing the codes of a thriller, investigation, tragedy, and irresistible comedy. But above all, the filmmaker touches upon some significant current issues such as identity, the impact of social media on our lives, and post-colonialism.”

“The Other Profile” has its world premiere in Copenhagen on March 21 and will be out in French theaters on June 7.

CPH:DOX runs from March 15 through 26.

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