A documentary by Rwandan filmmaker, Eric Kabera, was shown at Kigali Cultural and Exhibition Village on Wednesday, as part of the ongoing 24th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
Titled, ‘100 Days’, the movie takes viewers through events of what happened during the Genocide. The title of the film is a direct reference to the length of time that between the beginning of the Genocide April 6 and July 3, 1994.
Hundreds of people attended Wednesday’s free public screening at the 1000 capacity venue. People couldn’t hold back tears, as gruesome images of the Genocide that claimed over one million lives, were screened.
Released in 2001, ‘100 Days’ was the first feature movie to be produced about the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The film traces the steps of a young Tutsi refugee girl and her desperate efforts to escape the killers.
Kwetu Film Institute has screened two locally produced Genocide documentaries since the beginning of this year’s commemoration.
Another film, Intore was the first film to be screened on April 9. The movie features a commentary from the film director Eric Kabera, the founder of Kwetu Film Institute and Chairman of the Rwanda Film Festival (RFF).
It is a story of triumph, survival, hope, and a lesson on how to forgive and live, through the eyes of a mother whose grief gives hope; an artist who chose to forgive rather than seek revenge.
The other two films Iseta and Through my Eyes, were shortlisted for Thursday evening. The last films to be screened are Keepers of Memory’ and We are all Rwandans at the same venue on April 13, a day when the official commemoration week ends.
The documentaries ranging between 25 minutes and one hour were produced by Kwetu Film Institute, which has been at the forefront of developing the Rwandan movie industry, commonly known as ‘Hillywood’.
Kwetu has been screening films about the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi for the past 15 years, and Kabera says the screenings have contributed a lot to telling the story about Rwanda’s history.
According to the producer, the screenings which are usually organised at different venues, have over the years, attracted a huge audience eager to know how the Genocide happened, and how Rwandans are recovering from the tragedy.
“We screen the movies as a social responsibility. I don’t do it expecting to be paid, praised or celebrated. Instead, as a responsible citizen, you need to do something that you believe can make an impact in telling the truth about our past, and it is paying off because people are getting more interested in our movies,” said Kabera after the screening.
In attendance on Wednesday were revellers of different nationalities, including Jenny Ohlsson, the Swedish Ambassador to Rwanda, and her family.
“I am very impressed by the turn up, much of the audience are young, and many had never watched these documentaries before,” explained Kabera, adding that: “It is one thing to create a movie, but it is another thing to have it appreciated by the audience. This is a history recording, which is not meant for only Rwandans, because everybody needs to reflect on it and learn from what happened. It is really important for us to share our story.”
He further added: “The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi is a heavy subject that needs artists to be involved by contributing to the community. This is where artists should not miss out.”
James Mukunzi, 22, one of the attendees, said: “This is a milestone for Rwandan filmmakers who come up with stories that tell the truth about the Genocide. We would watch such movies to understand what happened since some of us were not yet born.”