Three make it to ‘reconciliation film’ finals

THE winner of Rwanda’s premiere film dubbed, “Rethinking Reconciliation” will be announced on March 23, at Serena Hotel in Kigali. The three finalists were unveiled at Goethe-Institut, Kiyovu on Tuesday.
Jean Paul Samputu and Vincent reconciled. (Internet photo)
Jean Paul Samputu and Vincent reconciled. (Internet photo)

THE winner of Rwanda’s premiere film dubbed, “Rethinking Reconciliation” will be announced on March 23, at Serena Hotel in Kigali. The three finalists were unveiled at Goethe-Institut, Kiyovu on Tuesday.

Dr. Peter Stepan, the Director of Goethe Institute- Rwanda, said that the three were selected out of 40 young Rwanda filmmakers submitted their scripts to compete for the best “Reconciliation” film. 

The winner will walk away with an award of Rwf1m.

The three finalists are Samuel Ishimwe with his short fiction, “Crossing Lines,” Yves Montand Niyogambo with a documentary called “Invincible” and Philbert Aime Mbabazi with a short fiction called, “Hutsi-Akaliza”.

“Forty young Rwanda filmmakers submitted scripts from which an international jury selected the best three. The principal awards were announced in June 2013, out of which $17,000 enabled the three young winners to produce their films,” Dr. Stepan told journalists.

The four judges were Ulla Rapp, a film editor from Munich who has been part of American independent films  for Munich Film Festival and not only discovered but supported various famous American filmmakers , Fu Qiong from China, an award winning documentary filmmaker, Kivu Ruhorahoza, Rwanda’s writer, filmmaker and author of award winning film, “Grey Matter” and Martin Brandes who has been working in Cinema and film industry for some 30 years  and is now  a senior advisor and coordinator for Rwanda Media Project at Kwetu Film, Kigali.

During the final ceremony at Serena Hotel, based civil rights activist from South Africa Gertrude Fester, a prisoner during the infamous Apartheid period, will deliver the keynote speech, called “Rethinking Reconciliation” which will introduce the theme of all three films.

Rwanda is set to commemorate 20 years since the Genocide against the Tutsi in a few weeks’ time and this is a joint film project of Goethe-Institute in collaboration with GIZ, Partnership Rhineland-Palatinate, Rwanda, KfW German Development Bank and Plan International Rwanda for the commemoration period.

“During the finals to select the winner, the public is going to vote for the best film among the three shortlisted films,” said Dr. Stepan.

The three films, each lasting 15 minutes are “The invincible”, a documentary that features Rwanda’s 2003 Kora Award winner in traditional music category and peace ambassador, Jean Paul Samputu. 

In the documentary, Samputu reconciles with his childhood friend called Vincent who was responsible for killing his father and a section of his family during the infamous Genocide against the Tutsi. The documentary is produced by Yves Montand Niyogambo, 26.

22-year-old Samuel Ishimwe’s film, “Crossing Lines” is about a genocide survivor called Kayihura who lives in depression after the genocide and cannot reconcile with himself what actually happened. Eventually, he meets one of the perpetrators, a killer of a child who has served his stint in the slammer, and the theme of reconciliation is brought out.

For Philbert Aime Mbambazi, 23, her film Hutsi-Akaliza Keza centers on a young girl whose life is shattered when she gets pregnant and learns that the man responsible for her pregnancy comes from a different ethnic community. She has to deal with this discovery and the story makes a surprising turn towards the end.

According to Alice Iribagiza, head of Communication, Plan International, one of the sponsors of the film competition, the main aim of this year’s film competition and award ceremony is about reconciliation and the award winning film will eventually be screened not only in Kigali but also in the rural areas.

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