New York–based Rwandan filmmaker, Gilbert Ndahayo, on Tuesday, released his debut feature documentary, Rwanda: Beyond the Deadly Pit, on DVD on Amazon.
The significance of the date– being a Heroes Day in Rwanda– gave the former child soldier more reason to relish a successful carrier, sparked by his first-hand horrific experience of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Rwanda: Beyond the Deadly Pit is based on the trial of his parent’s murderers during the Genocide.
The 100-minute documentary premiered at the 2010 Pan African film festival in Los Angeles where it was nominated for Best Documentary Feature and programmed in Reflecting Images at the prestigious International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).
In 1994, Ndahayo hide at the CND’s RPF base (now Parliamentary Buildings), where he survived the Genocide under the shelter of then the guerrilla force. Unfortunately, his parents who were hiding at a local church did not survive the killings.
In April 2006, Ndahayo took his camera to investigate the circumstances of his parents and 52 relatives’ racially motivated murder structures the film’s narrative attempts, with sidesteps into different aspects of a society in permanent shock.
His documentary lets the viewer visually experience the pain of a quest leading him through the Gacaca courts, dealing with the punishment of perpetrators, sites of mass killings of Bugesera and Kicukiro and events of public commemoration, while at the same time expressing his profound commitment for a better future for Rwandans.
In filmmaking, Ndahayo finds personal artistic expression and a means of sublimating a chaotic and painful world. His art brings a powerful message of healing.
Ndahayo is an auteur film director. He is reputed for cinema verite and long-take often unconventional in Hollywood.
He is among three Rwandan filmmakers, whose career was launched by His Excellency President Paul Kagame at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival in 2007.Ndahayo is currently pursuing a Masters in Fine Arts – Film directing at Columbia University.