THE 7th edition of the Rwanda film festival is in full swing, and the crew is delivering inspiring films as always, with a mix of genre features from upcoming and established filmmakers from across the world screening films of various genres from across the world.
On Tuesday, July 26, the documentary, Kinyarwanda, premiered for the first time in the country, after scooping the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at the 27th Sundance Film Festival in January 2011.
The documentary film by Alrick Brown and Ishmael Ntihabose is based on true accounts from survivors, who took refuge at the Grand Mosque of Kigali and the Imams who opened their doors to give refuge to the Tutsi and the Hutu, who refused to participate in the killings.
Kinyarwanda was definitely worth the wait to watch, as it attracted hundreds of people, including the grand Mufti of Rwanda Abdul Karim Gahutu, among other dignitaries.
By 8pm, Manor Hotel, the venue, was already full to capacity and after the screening guests were treated to a cocktail.
In his welcoming remarks, the director of Rwanda Cinema Centre/Rwanda Film festival Pierre Kayitana thanked the sponsors of the project and the guests for attending the premiere, before introducing the cast to the audience.
He said: “Kinyarwanda is a film that has seen Rwandan and American filmmakers working together. The executive producer of the film is Ishmael Ntihabose and it was produced by Alrick Brown, who sent his regards.”
“A few years ago, we never used to see, nor have young filmmakers, the cameras, screens and the festivals in the country. But today, we are very proud to have young Rwandans, who are executive producers and filmmakers on the production,” he added.
“Kinyarwanda is an amazing film. I remember talking to the directors in December 2009, when they had finished putting together the scripts of the movie. They told me that the script is hundred pages long. So, its a hundred pages of the genocide, a hundred days of the genocide and the film runs for hundred minutes,” Kayitana joked.
Ntihabose asked the audience to stand for a minute to honour the victims of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi before the screening.
The film presents us with plenty of strong characters that we can relate to and laugh at even if some of them can tend to be veryare over the top. Jean Mutsari, who stars as the grand Mufti is undoubtedly the star here, but there are plenty of recogniszable local names that make their way on screen and add credit to the festival.
Also, even though his character is so exaggerated, Emmanuel (Edouard Bamporiki), who is convicted for the genocide, is an award-winning Rwandan actor. Francine (Cleophas Kabasiita) has also featured in famous films, such as “Sometimes in April” and “Shake Hands with the Devil”.
The film also features a teenager young, whose parents are slaughtered. This imparts far more about the genocide than the numerous static discussions.
Cassandra Freeman, who stars as Lt. Rose, is an established American actress. She has appeared on Broadway in “Seven Guitars” and on TV in The Guiding Light, All My Children, Shark and Numbers.
Although Brown and Ntithabose wisely selected stories that encompass a complete spectrum of the human tragedy, some scenes are fictitious. However, the film presents personal and heartbreaking stories with steadfast compassion that puts everything about the horrible genocide into one well-intentioned film.