Price: $310.00

    Code: 2354

    Directed by Berni Goldblat
    2009, 72 minutes
    Purchase: $310 | Classroom Rental: $125

    A makeshift gold mine on the remote Diosso hillside in Burkina Faso has attracted a swarm of gold-diggers, prospectors, dynamiters, merchants, holy men, gamblers, healers and prostitutes.

    Living in the promiscuous closeness of a crowded and improvised gold town, these men and women are recklessly determined to find the gold that will change their lives.

    Yet, in Diosso, nothing is easy: the ‘miners' are exploited by the ‘bosses', the dynamiters risk their lives at each explosion, the healers distribute pills by the handful (first ones are free, additional pills are not) and the prostitutes express the cold hard reality of their situation. At the end of the day, the little money made by the miners is usually lost among the many gambling establishments.

    Once all the gold is believed to have been harvested from a particular site, the entire town is dismantled and rebuilt within days at a nearby location.

    Like a modern-day version of a town in the Wild West, The Hillside Crowd profiles the men and women drawn to this community. Each has their own story to tell, their own reason for coming here. But the underlying motivation remains the surrounding poverty and the dream of a better future.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    * Winner, Best Documentary, Brooklyn International Film Festival, 2009
    * Official Selection, Visions du Reel Film Festival, 2009
    * Winner, Audience Award & Special Jury Award, Festival International du Film Francophone, 2009


    “An outstanding work, that deeply probes the lives and motivations of the denizens of this decrepit boom town, and in so doing, examines the larger issues of temptation, greed, and organized exploitation brought on by gold exploration in Africa. Recommended.” - Educational Media Reviews Online

    “Both current anthropological research and prominent documentaries on mining focus on the struggles between indigenous communities and transnational corporations. The Hillside Crowd offers a significant contribution to this scholarship by exploring the lived worlds of small-scale miners and other residents of a makeshift gold mining camp in Burkina Faso in western Africa…. The film is refreshing and valuable... It would enhance college courses on globalization, labor, gender, mining and Africa.” - Anthropology Review Database