Healing Rwandan wounds

Patrick Mureithi, a US based Kenyan filmmaker produced the hour long documentary called, “Icyizere: Hope.” The new documentary focuses on the hope for a country rebuilding. The New Times’ Linda Mbabazi spoke to him about his interest in documenting Rwanda’s reconciliation efforts.

Patrick Mureithi, a US based Kenyan filmmaker produced the hour long documentary called, “Icyizere: Hope.”

The new documentary focuses on the hope for a country rebuilding. The New Times’ Linda Mbabazi spoke to him about his interest in documenting Rwanda’s reconciliation efforts.

TNT: Tell us a little about yourself?

PM: I was born in Nairobi Hospital, on October 2, 1979, and grew up in Kenya. I am a documentary filmmaker, husband and father to four beautiful children.

TNT: How long have you been in the film industry?

PM: It’s now been six years. In 1998, I took a two-week summer class on the theory of documentaries. The experience was incredibly enlightening, and my love for filmmaking developed.
Also, my education at Missouri State University, gave me great preparation to work internationally.

TNT: Who inspired you into the film industry?

PM: I was inspired by my parents, who both have a teaching background. But there are also two particular individuals who influenced my education: Mark Biggs, who taught an intersession on documentaries, and Patricia Elliott, who pushed me to achieve my best.

TNT: What was your first documentary?

PM: My first documentary is called, “Many Steps.” It’s about international students in America. As a foreign student, I was homesick and very lonely. It greatly affected my welfare and performance in class.

Later, I decided to document a short film about African foreign students in America. The message was to encourage them to concentrate on their studies, because I knew after that, they would get a decent life back home (Africa).

TNT: How many documentaries have you produced?

PM: Oh, I could say five short documentaries, and two big films. These include among others: “‘Many Steps”, “Foreign Homes”, and “Icyizere: Hope.”

TNT: Tell our readers about your film “Icyizere”?

PM: “Icyizere: Hope,” is a documentary about the ongoing reconciliation process between the survivours and perpetrators of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide against the Tutsi.

TNT: What inspired you to do a film on the Rwanda Genocide?

PM: My mission was that, in this world of conflict, what we need most is diplomacy. And through this film I am in a small way being a diplomat.

I was unaware about the Rwanda Genocide which claimed a million lives. Not even in Kenya where I was at the time when the butchering was at its peak, or in USA where I am currently residing, not until 2004 when I watched “Ghosts of Rwanda”.

I was left shocked and extremely terrified. I could not bear the trauma because I had never thought that human beings would turn against each other  in such wicked manner.

I also obtained a chance to meet David Zarembka who had worked in Rwandan for a long time before the Genocide, and he testified to me about the Genocide that took place in the “Land of A Thousand Hills”.

TNT: How is it significant to Rwandans?

PM: With all the knowledge as a filmmaker, I thought of something that would create a positive impact to Rwandans.
The film will act as a significant tool in the ongoing reconciliation process among Rwandans. I believe to forgive and to be forgiven is a human.

I have toured prisons around Rwanda, showing the film to inmates who have experienced trauma from the events of the Rwanda Genocide.

TNT: Do you consider “Icyizere” a success?

PM: Yes! The film has been successful. It has been presented in several venues, including in prisons, on Rwanda National Television. It was shown at the 2008 Rwanda Film Festival, and was also submitted for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

TNT: How much did it cost you to produce to “Icyizere”?

PM: Surprisingly, it was not a lot of money. The entire production took me two years to accomplish and cost $80,000.

Today, Mureithi will screen “Icyizere”, at Cine Star, a new cinema centre in Nyamirambo.

TNT: Tell us a little about yourself?

PM: I was born in Nairobi Hospital, on October 2, 1979, and grew up in Kenya. I am a documentary filmmaker, husband and father to four beautiful children.

TNT: How long have you been in the film industry?

PM: It’s now been six years. In 1998, I took a two-week summer class on the theory of documentaries. The experience was incredibly enlightening, and my love for filmmaking developed.
Also, my education at Missouri State University, gave me great preparation to work internationally.

TNT: Who inspired you into the film industry?

PM: I was inspired by my parents, who both have a teaching background. But there are also two particular individuals who influenced my education: Mark Biggs, who taught an intersession on documentaries, and Patricia Elliott, who pushed me to achieve my best.

TNT: What was your first documentary?

PM: My first documentary is called, “Many Steps.” It’s about international students in America. As a foreign student, I was homesick and very lonely. It greatly affected my welfare and performance in class.

Later, I decided to document a short film about African foreign students in America. The message was to encourage them to concentrate on their studies, because I knew after that, they would get a decent life back home (Africa).

TNT: How many documentaries have you produced?

PM: Oh, I could say five short documentaries, and two big films. These include among others: “‘Many Steps”, “Foreign Homes”, and “Icyizere: Hope.”

TNT: Tell our readers about your film “Icyizere”?

PM: “Icyizere: Hope,” is a documentary about the ongoing reconciliation process between the survivours and perpetrators of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide against the Tutsi.

TNT: What inspired you to do a film on the Rwanda Genocide?

PM: My mission was that, in this world of conflict, what we need most is diplomacy. And through this film I am in a small way being a diplomat.

I was unaware about the Rwanda Genocide which claimed a million lives. Not even in Kenya where I was at the time when the butchering was at its peak, or in USA where I am currently residing, not until 2004 when I watched “Ghosts of Rwanda”.

I was left shocked and extremely terrified. I could not bear the trauma because I had never thought that human beings would turn against each other  in such wicked manner.

I also obtained a chance to meet David Zarembka who had worked in Rwandan for a long time before the Genocide, and he testified to me about the Genocide that took place in the “Land of A Thousand Hills”.

TNT: How is it significant to Rwandans?

PM: With all the knowledge as a filmmaker, I thought of something that would create a positive impact to Rwandans.
The film will act as a significant tool in the ongoing reconciliation process among Rwandans. I believe to forgive and to be forgiven is a human.

I have toured prisons around Rwanda, showing the film to inmates who have experienced trauma from the events of the Rwanda Genocide.

TNT: Do you consider “Icyizere” a success?

PM: Yes! The film has been successful. It has been presented in several venues, including in prisons, on Rwanda National Television. It was shown at the 2008 Rwanda Film Festival, and was also submitted for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

TNT: How much did it cost you to produce to “Icyizere”?

PM: Surprisingly, it was not a lot of money. The entire production took me two years to accomplish and cost $80,000.

Today, Mureithi will screen “Icyizere”, at Cine Star, a new cinema centre in Nyamirambo.

 

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