Happening for the first time, Kigali Cine Junction (KCJ) festival, brought African cinema experience to Rwandans from July 27-30, in different open places in Kigali. Philbert Aimé Mbabazi Sharangabo, the brains behind Imitana Productions, a Kigali-based film production company that organised the festival told The New Times that KCJ wanted to bring cinema directly to people by using alternative places as film venues, and revive the culture of people watching films together as a community. “Fundamentally, as an audience-oriented cinematic festival, KCJ also aims to serve as a nexus between the international film scene and regional audiences and local industries, redefining the movie-going experience by bringing film screenings to public spaces (Kigali Car Free Zone, Public streets of Biryogo) and a forgotten cinema (Kwa Mayaka). KCJ strives to breathe new life into such cinematic landmarks and advocates for its preservation,” he said. ALSO READ: Kigali Cine Junction: Festival to celebrate African cinema, connect cultures The first movie ‘Do The Right Thing’ by Spike Lee, which is often considered as one of 100 Great movies of all time, was screened at Imbuga City Walk on Thursday, July 27. It’s a film about the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, where everyone's hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence. “We are here to support this great initiative and thanks to all the partners and institutions that supported and financed this event. It serves as an added value to the growth of the cinema industry as a whole.” Christian Rudahinyuka, the Growth and Innovation Program Manager at Rwanda Development Board (RDB) who was in attendance told the audience. On the second day, a series of short films in a program entitled ‘Ciné-Quartier’ were screened on the streets of Biryogo Car Free Zone (Mu Marangi). The short films were: ‘Sixteen Rounds’ and ‘Uppercut Ubuntu’ by Loukman Ali, ‘Hasaki Ya Suda’ by Cedric Ido and ‘Ishaba’ by Yves Amuli. The last day, Saturday, July 30 saw the screening of ‘Quartier Mozart’ by Cameroonian film director, Jean Pierre Bekolo, who was also the main guest of this festival, as well as DRC’s film ‘La Vie Est Belle,’ at Imbuga City Walk. Beyond movie screenings Apart from screening movies, KCJ organised ‘Industry Talks Friday’ that brought together regional filmmakers from Rwanda, DRC, Uganda and Burundi to share insightful views in the industry and find ways to expand the film industry in the region collaboratively. Prior to the closing of the festival, Jean Pierre Bekolo also delivered a unique Cinema Masterclass at Elikapeka, in Kiyovu. Sharangabo told The New Times that the open-air screenings were part one of the first edition of this festival as they renovate the venue for the second edition. “The second part of the edition is coming in August and it will be an indoor one at Kwa Mayaka Cinema Hall in Nyamirambo. We are trying to repair the place so that we may keep its legacy as the oldest cinema in Kigali, it shall never go in vain,” he said. Imitana Productions founded by award-winning filmmakers Philbert Aimé Mbabazi Sharangabo and Samuel Ishimwe has been operating since 2013. It has since concocted a broad portfolio and films have reached international audiences and won prestigious prizes such as the ‘Silver Bear’ in the Berlinale Film Festival and the Oscar-qualifying Grand Prize of Oberhausen. The company has also produced work for Al Jazeera English and regularly provides film training programs.