Rwandan filmmaker scoops global accolade

Umuhire shows off her Let’s CEE Award for the Best Acting Performance in the ‘Birds Are Singing in Kigali’ last month, in Vienna. Over the weekend, the same movie won her another major award in Poland. Net.

Rwandan filmmaker Eliane Umuhire scooped the MasterCard Rising Star for her feature film ‘Birds Are Singing in Kigali’, at the Netia off Camera International Festival of Independent Cinema in Krakow, Poland. 

The week-long festival kicked off on April 27 and concluded on May 6, with an awards gala. This year’s festival received over 800 entries from around the world, but only ten were awarded. 

The film, whose plot is set in both Rwanda and Poland, where it was shot, was directed by the Polish filmmaking couple of Joanna Kos-Krauze and Krzystof Krauze.

‘Birds Are Singing in Kigali’ explores trauma, forgiveness and the healing power of nature following the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

A jury comprised of members of the International Federation of Film Critics selected the winners after reviewing their works.

“Thank you for allowing me to believe in my dreams,” said Umuhire via a video conference as she was unable to attend the awards ceremony.

Umuhire has previously received an awards for ‘Best  Actress’ at the  52nd edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (KVIFF) in July last year in Poland  and Let’s CEE Award for the ‘Best Acting Performance’ in Vienna this year, for the same film.

Other winning movies at the festival included Małgorzata Szumowska’s Mug, Urszula Antoniak’s Beyond Words starring Jakub Gierszał, Bodo Kox’s wild dystopian comedy The Man With the Magic Box, and Maciej Sobieszczański’s moving debut The Reconciliation, which tells the story of a love triangle set against post-war turmoil in a labour camp in Silesia.   

The International Festival of Independent Cinema Off Camera is a film festival held in Kraków, Poland, and includes up to 400 screenings annually and seminars. It attracts international stars.

One of the objectives of the festival is to support and recognise talented filmmakers from around the world at the threshold of their careers.

The event, in its 11 edition this year, is organised by the Society for Independent and Similar Arts Off Camera.

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