Rwandan film selected for Czech Film Festival

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Rwandan actress Umuhire and Murenzi, the film's production designer and art director (in a sky blue gown), on the red carpet with other delegates at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic. / Courtesy

Birds Are Singing in Kigali, a movie about the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, has been selected for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (KVIFF), in the Czech Republic.

The film is directed by wife-and-husband duo Joanna Kos-Krauze and Krzystof Krauze, prominent film directors from Poland. Its plot is set both in Rwanda and in Poland. The main characters are two women Claudine Mugambira, a young Tutsi Genocide survivor, and Anna Keller (40), a Polish Ornithologist and divorcee for many years.

With the helping hand of Keller, Claudine Mugambira manages to escape with friends to Europe during the 1994 Genocide. Three years later, she takes the decision to return to Rwanda, her motherland to not only accord her family members a decent burial but also meet the family’s killers.

Upon her return to Rwanda, she discovers that the birds that had fallen silent during the killings are singing again. Inspired, she decides to stay.

The film further depicts the process of recovering from trauma, a tragic necessity to choose life after miraculously surviving the threat of extermination.

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Film director Joanna Kos-Krauze talks to the audience about the film. / Courtesy
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Joannna Kos-Krauze and actress Umuhire (in a red dress) share a light moment. / Courtesy
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Eliane Umuhire acts as Claudine Mugambira in the movie Birds Are Singing in Kigali. / Internet photo
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L-R- Artistic director of the festival Karel Och, actress Jowita Budnik and actress Eliane Umuhire arriving on the red carpet. / Courtesy
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Film Director, screenwriter and producer Joanna Kos-Krauze arriving at the event. / Courtesy
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L-R, Actress Jowita Budnik, film director Joanna Kos-Krauze and actress Eliane Umuhire. / Courtesy

The role of Claudine Mugambira is acted by Rwandan actress Eliane Umuhire, while Polish filmmaker Joana Kos-Krauze is the film director and script writer.

Jolie Murenzi, a Rwandan filmmaker is the film’s Production designer, art director and line producer.

The 52nd edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival started on June 30th and ends on Saturday, July 8th, in the Czech city of Karlovy Vary.

It is one of the world’s oldest festivals, and is ranked among the top 15 international festivals like Cannes, Berlin, and Venice Film Festivals. It was founded in 1946.

The festival opened on June 30th with the US-Indie film, The Big Sick.

According to Jolie Murenzi, the film’s production designer and art director, the film was made possible through partnerships with the Rwanda Defense Force (RDF), ministry of Defense, the ministry of Sports and Culture, CNLG, and the Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS), among others.

It was shot in 2015, both in Rwanda and Poland. In Rwanda, scenes were shot from the streets of Kigali, Nyarugenge Prison (now Mageragere Prison), Umubano Hotel, in Nyagatare, in Nyungwe, and in Nyamata, where the lead actor, Claudine Mugambira lived before the Genocide.

Murenzi revealed that the film will premiere in Kigali soon, in partnership with CNLG. Thereafter it will also premiere in Poland, the country of origin of the film’s director.

Murenzi and Joana Kos-Krauze are already working on their next movie project, a film titled Mourning, in which the two will co-star.

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