The 2019 European film festival organised by the EU in Rwanda kicks off today, November 20, at Century Cinema, in Kigali, with the screening of “Birds are singing in Kigali” at 1:30 pm.
The festival is an annual event that showcases a selection of European films to local audiences in different parts of the world, offering a glimpse into the continent’s diversity and creativity.
A total of 17 films will be screened during the festival at selected screening venues across the country.
Flora Kayitesi, the Press and Information Officer at the European Union in Rwanda, told The New Times that the festival has been of great impact on the development of the local film industry through continuous collaborations and exchanges of experiences between European and local filmmakers.
“It has been all about collaborations and skills exchange between filmmakers, a number of film co-productions were made as a result. I believe the festival is pushing Rwanda’s film industry forward and through it, more can be achieved in the future,” Kayitesi said in a telephone interview.
“So far, the festival impact is quite visible, because when present good quality films that have won awards to inspire local filmmakers and also to create partnerships,” she added.
The films to be screened are of different categories, which are ‘suitable for the general audience’, according to Kayitesi, including family drama, comedy and fictions.
Two films co-produced with Rwandan filmmakers, such as Icyasha by Clementine Dusabejambo and ‘Birds Are Singing in Kigali’, in which filmmaker Eliane Umuhire acted, are shortlisted among films scheduled to be screened during the festival, with the former set for the screening on the opening day at Century Cinema.
“The festival does not only intend to showcase European films because we managed to mix. We had to include some local films and African co-productions on the screening lineup to present some African content in general to recognise their efforts,” she said.
Screening sessions will also take place at Club Rafiki in Nyamirambo, and Girl Guides Association of Rwanda in Gikondo, on November 20-24.
The festival will continue in Rubavu, Rwamagana and Nyanza Districts from November 29 to December 1, respectively.
All the screenings are free.