THE closing remarks by Rwanda Film Festival’s director, Pierre Kayitana, at the closing ceremony of the 7th edition of Rwanda Film festival and Mitzig Red carpet Award night party at The Manor Hotel on July 29, left sad memories to passionate Rwandan filmmakers, as the host Azera Jones, asked him to officially close the colourful 14-day event.
The mood and feelings among the gathering turned cold. The psychological side of it showed that most of them did not want the festival to end.
“It is very sad the film festival has ended but again, we are very happy and proud looking at the outcome of this edition,” Kayitana remarked.
He said that back in 2005, the festival, was then known as Rwanda Mini Film Festival and from those humble beginnings turned into what can be considered as Rwanda International Film Festival this year.
“Thanks to the government of Rwanda through the various departments, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Rwanda Development Board, National Police, Bralirwa Miitzig, United Nations, TradeMark East Africa, United States of America Embassy, Girlhub, South Africa High Commission, and all the partners, sponsors, organisations, embassies and individuals who helped to make the festival happen,” Kayitana noted.
This year’s festival as usual crisscrossed the country with lots of joy and excitement, as audiences gathered to watch productions produced by talented young African Filmmakers including “Africa United”, “Grey Matter” and “Kinyarwanda”.
“If we could get many sources of funding, we should get another film festival in Rwanda. This can encourage many more Rwandans and Africans to make their own films. A year waiting is very long for such a fantastic and exciting event like this,” Christian Gakombe, an established cinematographer said.
The film jury, composed of Larry Dean Smith, Ray Chan and Charles Asiba on behalf of the Academy of Rwanda Film Festival 2011, handed the Silverback Awards in three different categories to filmmakers and actors as part for this year’s film festival.
Cleophas Kabasita went home with a Silverback Award for the best actress in the Rwandan category, Herve Kimenyi for best actor for his outstanding role in “Grey Matter” and the best Rwandan film went to “Kinyarwanda” by Ishmael Ntihabose and Alrick Brown.
Minani Jean Baptiste also walked away with an award for the best African documentary. In the best African Film category was ‘Na Wewe’. The award was received by the film’s script writer Jean Luc and his wife.
“Thank you very much. It is great to be recognised by the Rwanda Film Festival, my wife is from here and I am dedicating this award to her. She is a Rwandan native and she has taught me so much. She has taught me peace, love, and all the beautiful, important things in life,” Jean Luc, upon his acceptance of the award.
The One UN Rwanda resident coordinator Aurelien said that arts and culture can clearly illustrate to the masses the message of hope and peace better than any other field industry.
He added that the United Nations Rwanda was happy to support and be associated with the Rwanda Cinema Centre and the Rwanda Film festival. Aurelien thanked Eric Kabera, CEO and founder of Rwanda Cinema Centre, Pierre Kayitana, the festival director and the rest of the team for making such a huge event happen within Rwanda.
“The film industry is a way to bring business in Rwanda. It brings peace and the opportunity to shoot movies not guns,’’ Roger Munyampenda, CEO of the Private Sector Federation stated.
During the event, Kabera was awarded a Silverback Award for the “Africa United”. He dedicated it to Omar Mukthar, who worked on the story, set design and casting.
Kabera said he was happy for Hillywood to have Silverback Awards that will hopefully travel around the world like Hollywood’s Oscars and Cannes’s Holly Palm.
Rica Rwigamba, the head of Tourism at the Rwanda Development Board, John Bosco Kalisa from Trademark East Africa, Martine Gatabazi Miitzing brand manager and Patrick Samputu, Bralirwa’s Sales Promotion and Events were among the dignitaries who attended the closing ceremony of the Rwanda Film Festival 2011.