14th Rwanda Film Festival kicks off

Kabera (second left) with some of the organising team for the Rwanda Film Festival. Photos by Moses Opobo.

The country’s flagship film event, the Rwanda Film Festival (RFF), returned for its 14th edition with a colourful opening gala at the Hotel Villa Portofino in Kigali on Saturday night.

Dubbed Hillywood 2018, the weeklong festival runs until September 21, at various locations across the country.


The theme for this year is Heritage.


The opening gala witnessed the screening of Love Jacked, a Canadian Romance/Comedy film directed by Alfons Adetuyi, and that was released in February this year. The film is a 2018 African Movie Academy Award (AMAA) nominee for Best Diaspora Film.


The film tells the story of Maya, an ambitious and headstrong Canadian artist who travels to Africa in search for inspiration, and instead returns home with a fiancé.

Also screened was the short film, Karani Ngufu, by Rwandan filmmaker and freelance journalist Joseph Njata.

Njata produced the film together with fellow students of the Rwanda Media Project, a six-months Script writers Master Class run by the Kwetu Film Institute.Karani Ngufu delves into the touchy subject of domestic servants in Rwanda, and was received warmly by the audience.

Eric Kabera, founder of the Rwanda Film Festival (second right), presides over the award of certificates to finalists of Rwanda Media Project Master Class.

Staged at the poolside of the Villa Portofino Hotel, the event drew a moderate crowd of film enthusiast, media, local and foreign filmmakers, and members of the diplomatic corps.

In attendance were the ambassadors of the US, Sweden, South Africa and Japan, and the deputy head of mission of the German embassy in Kigali, among others.

In his welcome remarks, Eric Kabera, the founder of the Rwanda Film Festival, thanked the different stakeholders for the continued support to the Rwanda Film Festival and the local film industry in the last 14 years. He, in particular, thanked the governments of Rwanda and Germany, partners in the Rwanda Media Project that is run by the Kwetu Film Institute.

After the screening of Karani Ngufu, the students from the Rwanda Media Project who took part in the film’s production were awarded certificates.

Also in attendance was a crew from the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, US, who are co-curators of this year’s festival.

After the opening gala, there will be special festival events and screenings up to September 21, the closing night. On Sunday, September 16, there were screenings at Cleopatra Restaurant in Kimihurura, and at the Kwetu Film Institute.

In the course of the week, there will be more screenings staged at the Innovation Village at the rooftop of the Kigali Public Library, at Cleopatra, and Kwetu Film Institute.

On September 19, the screenings head out of Kigali, to Kivu Beach in Rubavu in the Western Province, and the following day, at Karongi Stadium.

The festival draws to a close on Saturday September 21, with the screening of the documentary feature, I’ve Gotta Be Me, at Hotel Villa Portofino.



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