It was pomp and glamour as outstanding filmmakers with the best works showcased at the just-concluded eighth edition of Mashariki African Film Festival returned home with some exciting souvenirs accompanied by various prizes. The week long festival opened Saturday, November 26, and concluded Friday, December 2, at Century Cinema attracting key players in the film industry in the country and international guests from different countries across the globe. Israeli Ambassador to Rwanda Ron Adam and Robert Masozera, the Director-General of the Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy, were among guests that graced the closing ceremony of the festival. A number of activities including movie screenings, workshops and master classes were held throughout the week and were concluded with a colorful awarding ceremony to filmmakers with movies screened at the festival. Festival Director Tresor Senga, said there are is a lot to celebrate about the festival journey during the past eight years given how the turn up has been growing in terms of the audience and filmmakers showing interest in participating at the festival. “Given how the number of people coming to the festival has been increasing edition after edition, the future of Mashariki Africa Film Festival is bright. It has been growing in so many ways and we have a reason to celebrate it,” Senga said. A total of 75 films were selected for screening at the festival and the best were awarded. The movies were selected in three main categories namely best feature, best documentary and best short film in addition to a special category dubbed ‘Iziwacu’ which was designed to celebrate the work done by local filmmakers. The awardees: Best Short Film: Love Me by Claudine Uwamahoro. Best Actor: Uraha Johnson Joseph in ‘After’. Best Actress: Raissa Mugabekazi Uwonkunda ‘Birthing’ Best Short Film: Supastaz by Oprah Yougi (Kenya) Documentaries by We Students by Rafiki Fariala (Central African Republic) Best long-feature Film: Maria Kristu -The Buumpaa by Paul S. Wilo. Iziwacu: prizes that were given to film made by Rwandan filmmakers that were trained under the Tumenye Sinema, an initiative run by the Mashariki African Film Festival. The initiative operates in four districts in Rwanda. Best Rwandan Short Film in Huye: Before Treat My First Present by Marie Aimée Duterimbere. Best Rwandan Short Film in Muhanga: Impamvu by Marie Jeanne Uwera. Best Rwandan Short Film Musanze: Amayira Abiri by Samuel Uwizeyimana Best Rwandan Short Film Rubavu: Classroom by Joseph Furaha. Special Awards by SIGNIS The SIGNIS Awards are presented annually by SIGNIS, the Roman Catholic lay movement for communication media professionals, to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors and writers. As the new partners of Mashariki African Film Festival, SIGNIS gave out special prizes to the best film as well East African Talent. SIGNIS award for Best Film: Kafacoh by Doreen Mirembe (Uganda) East African Talent Award: A Colorful Life by Lionel Nishimwe (Burundi). Nishimwe walked away with a cash prize of Euros 1000.