The official selection for this year’s Mashariki African Film Festival (MAAFF) is out.
In its third year now, the festival aims at showcasing and celebrating the works of budding film makers from across the continent.
This year’s festival will take place from March 25 - 31, at the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village (former Camp Kigali).
Films will be screened under two categories; Competition, and Panorama.
The theme for this year’s festival is ‘My Story, My Passion, My Journey.’
Six short films will be screened under the national competition, which is open exclusively to Rwandan filmmakers. Of these, three are short fiction films.
A Beautifull exchange by Nicole Kamanzi, It works by Munezero Emmanuel Harris and Torment by Nyirinkwaya Ngoma.
Also under the national competition three short documentaries will be screened; Fastest woman in Africa by Faustin Niyigena, Football for Peace by Habib Kanobana, and La femme nue by Mutiganda wa Nkunda.
Two Rwandan short fiction films will be screened under the East African Competition category. These are It works by Emmanuel Harris Munezero and Torment by Nyirinkwaya Ngoma.
Under the category of East African documentary are two Rwandan entries Football for Peace by Habib Kanobana and La femme nue by Mutiganda wa Nkunda.
However, there are no Rwandan entries under the African Competition (short film, feature fiction, and documentary categories).
“This year we have many interesting films that will be screened during the festival. We also have a good number of people that want to attend the event this time. We are expecting more than two thousand people,” said Tresor Senga, the president of Mashariki African Film Festival and country representative of the East African Film Network (EAFN).
He explained that gradually the film culture is taking root in the country.
“It was not easy for us to initiate this idea because as you know people in Rwanda are not very familiar with the culture of cinema. It was not easy for people to understand when you told them you had a screening. Most people are familiar with Nigerian and international movies as opposed to movies made at home.
But step by step people are beginning to understand how the culture of cinema especially in Rwanda and in East Africa has been growing. Five years ago the film industry here was not mature but now it’s growing,” he said, adding;
“Another challenge we faced was funding but gradually some sponsors are beginning to understand the field of film in Rwanda and how it’s growing. When we started out we did not have specialised teams of people in film or in organising events. Another thing is we have a good location which is also very artistic - the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village. We have guests from Canada, the UK, France, East Africa partner states, in all more than twenty African countries will be a part of the festival.”
Senga, however, decried the practice of piracy that he said is a disincentive to many practicing and aspiring filmmakers alike: “Piracy is a big problem affecting film production and the federation is still looking for ways to address the problem.”
He said that the festival will be rolling out to upcountry locations in the next two years, beginning with Rubavu and Musanze Districts.