Jean-Claude Muhire's journey into the world of film making started in 2012 while working as a volunteer at the former Kimisagara orphanage. His job at the orphanage was to assist the founder to take care of many children.
His experience at the orphanage sparked in him an urge to tell the story of the orphans and street children through film. This year, his dream came true when he shot Liza, a movie about a girl who loses both parents at 12, and goes to live in an orphanage. Moses Opobo talked to him…
Tell us about your film, Liza
Liza is my lesson to society. People have to learn more from it! It is my mission to see wounded young girls grow up with the opportunity to become responsible adults who can become the productive leaders to the community.
The profound experience I had at the orphanage made me realize that I have a responsibility to speak for those who have no voice and who can suffer in pain and silence.
Liza is the story of this pretty young girl, who after becoming an orphan, goes to live in an orphanage. When she is 12 years old, her uncle takes her from the orphanage and brings her to live in his home and later he rapes her.
I wrote the script for Liza in June 2014 for the Global Dialogues competition.
I was among 20 Rwandans selected to represent Rwanda in the contest. Global Dialogues is an NGO based in the UK that combines the creative genius of young people and the power of social change media to cultivate empathy, compassion and unity in diversity. Global Dialogues sets annual competitions of essays about prevention of sex abuse and HIV/ AIDS for young people less than 25 years old worldwide.
How did you get into the local film industry?
After completing secondary school, I went through some basic film making courses. I also acquired some basic theater skills, making theater pieces using puppets and for which I got certification.
I have acted in several local films, including Muvandimwe, Turapfa Iki, Bihemu, and Igi Rya Dragon.
Tell us about your dreams and plans for the local movie scene
Of course, my dream is to become a professional filmmaker.As a writer, I also plan to write more and more films. Writing a film is one way to think big because we have to reflect on what we see, what we know or what we have heard. But making a movie is just like teaching people what is happening or something that can happen in the community.
When should we expect to see Liza on the big screen?
I plan to launch my movie in June. I want to invite many people to come and enjoy Liza. Liza’s story is one of resilience and survival. It depicts the importance of telling one story in order to raise awareness and eradicate the menace of rape from our society.
In making this movie, I hope to contribute to the healing of the thousands of girls like Liza. I hope to bring public attention, awareness and education in to combating the epidemic of rape and violence perpetrated against our young girls and women.