The Rwanda Film Festival returned for its 12th season with a colorful launch event at the spanking new Radisson Blu Hotel at Kigali Convention Center on Saturday night.
The event that was supposed to draw a limited number of people because it was an invite-only affair, turned out into a full house, with more than a thousand guests packed into the hotel’s ultra-modern 3D cinema.
Most of the people came not only to attend the launch of the film festival but also to check out Kigali Convention Centre and Radisson Blu Hotel in the aftermath of the just-concluded African Union Summit.
Organizers, who initially insisted on invites before one could gain entry to the event were soon overwhelmed by the sheer numbers and eventually yielded to pressure, allowing everyone to come in.
Also known as Hillywood, the annual Rwanda Film Festival runs for seven days (July 23rd-30th), during which free public screenings are held in multiple locations in Kigali, as well as the popular rural screenings that will be held in Rubavu and Rwamagana districts.
“Our principle objective is to promote and encourage awareness, appreciation and understanding of the art of cinema in Rwanda. The festival’s mandate is to present the most outstanding films produced in every part of the world to Rwandan audiences,” explained Eric Kabera, the festival curator and founder of the Kwetu Film Institute.
“The Rwanda Film Festival is inspired by our Rwandan spirit which is instilled in our team and inspired by our president, Paul Kagame. We keep moving forward despite numerous challenges,”Kabera said.
The theme for this year’s festival is Versatility, and the choice of venue this year was not accidental:
“Being able to open in such a prestigious venue, the Radisson Blu Hotel and the Convention Center speaks volumes. Rwanda is truly becoming a versatile place, only a versatile spirit can handle three roundabouts in less than a month,”
“Our festival this year has taken on the task and theme of versatility which is reflected in our team, our films and our entire program,” Kabera further explained.
“Our festival resonates beyond our borders. This year we received over 700 films from every corner of the globe and we picked 70 films. The festival will host seven premieres including the African premiere of Chocolat at our closing ceremony,”
The Rwanda Film Festival has not only established itself as one of the country’s most important cultural events, but also as one of Africa’s most prestigious home-grown festivals.
This year’s festival has attracted young filmmakers from across the globe, raising the prospects of young people joining the film industry.