Rwanda cinema has had an excellent evolution from non existent to an industry with local and international participation.
The annual Rwanda film festival is here, this time in its fifth edition and according to Rwanda Cinema Centre Founder Eric Kabera this time it is bigger and better. At the festivals launch Kabera revealed that the festival would be hosting over seventy films of which ten are Rwandan.
“The festival is a way of celebrating local talents in all genres of film making while at the same time welcoming inspiring editions from the region, we have about 14 films from east Africa,” said Kabera.
Regional films according to Kabera are meant to expose Rwandans to other cultures identities and to provide an inspiration to upcoming film makers and stars.
The festival has showcased the power of a story in education and in entertainment and at the same managed to communicate the values that hold us together.
Rwanda cinema director Pierre Kayitana noted that the festival aim was to entertain, inform and educate audiences on different issues.
Festivals Press Officer Matthew Alagiah added that the broad idea of the film festival was promote Rwandan film and to boost the country’s tourist sector.
“The festival will host local and international guests, films and filmmakers, it’s an opportunity to showcase Rwandan films while tapping inspiration from regional films,” Kabera added.
The festival has presented a chance for local regional and international film makers a chance of dialogue so as to learn from each other.
“Red carpet to hilly wood”
In giving respect to hilly wood the festival kicked off in Nyagatare last week. Hillywood aims at bringing cinema experience to the communities living in the remote locations of Rwanda.
By use of Inflatable screens the festival brought audio visual entertainment to Rwamagana, Gichumbi, Rubavu, Musanze, Kalongi and Huye.
“This year’s theme “Red carpet to hillywood” is aimed at redefining the brand hilly wood, to make it sound more fun entertaining and trendy like any other festival in the world,” commented kabera.
Each screening attracted an impressive audience that called for more screenings.
In taking film to the hills of Rwanda Cinema Centre was joined by Population Services International (PSI). PSI films made for the Sinigurisha Campaign, that aims at fighting against cross-generation sex shared screen with other educative international films.
PSI used the cinema stage to teach and inform about HIV and all the dangers that are associated with cross generation sex.
The audience attracted by music and films got a chance to learn from targets films and discussions aroused by the films.
“We wanted to give people living out of the city a chance to view a film, to entertain them while educating them on social issues,” said Alagiah.
The captivated audience were glued to the screens for hours an end and left hours after the final screenings.
11 Willy Mugabo noted that the films were very entertaining and that the festival should be there more than once a year.
“This is the third time the festival has come here, am happy to learn from the films about SIDA,I hope we can have the festival more than once a year,” said Mugabo.
Hitimana Patrick remarked that films have a big role to play not just in entertainment but also in passing on educative information.
“Films have a role to play in education people. You can learn from other people about things you haven’t personally experienced,” said Hitimana.
The festival hosted parenting films that were aimed at enriching the viewers on different parental issues.
Jonathan Kariba in Ruhenjeri noted that the films were balanced and taught on different ways of nurturing and taking care of children.
Some films were purely entertainment something Iddy hamid noted to have been a great experience.
After a series of screening upcountry the Festival hits Kigali this weekend after a grand opening in Serena on Friday. The main screening locations in Kigali include Cinestar, Torrero Café and Shokola Café. Rwanda film festival has achieved world acclaim and youth participation promises to take it to an even bigger audience.
The festival features women, children films with a special event for Genocide films coming up next week. The films cover all genres such as drama, thrillers, comedies and feature documentaries.
Yesterday the women foundation ministries hosted the women panorama films that explored different women issues. “As we forgive” is an impressive women documentary about women who had to come face to face with men who slaughtered their families.
The event followed a discussion on different issues arising from the films was an educative and informative one.
“We have children panorama coming up next week and a special screening of genocide films on Saturday next week, we hope that the films will educate and entertain children who are the targeted audience,” Alagiah revealed.
Among the top films that are being shown include confession, War child, Iseta, Hope, as we forgive, children of Congo, tears of Rwanda and other independent films from across the globe.
This film address challenges and encounters in everyday life such HIV/AIDS, Women’s Emancipation, human rights violations, children issues.
This year’s festival will also be hosting an award ceremony slotted for this Friday the 26th that will be hosted by an impressive jury made up of phenomenon film gurus including June Givani and Keith Shiri both who are renowned for hosting film festivals across the world.
The award ceremony will be subsequent to critical review of films that have been nominated for the competition. At stake are cash awards from the Ministry of Sports and Culture.
As the film festival unfolds it brings with it even greater hopes for the film industry in Rwanda. The festival is a celebration of existing and upcoming generation of filmmakers.
Currently the Film Institute which is under the umbrella of Rwanda Cinema Centre has 39 graduates in basic film making and is scheduled for a new class early September. The students have had a chance to make short films which are being run in the festival.
“We want to celebrate the fact that right now Rwanda film industry exists and is a world renowned brand with film in global festivals. The film showcase is a way of boosting the creative industry and encouraging youth to venture into it for employment,” said Kabera.
Kabera noted that the film industry in Rwanda is no longer a dream but a reality with global recognition.
“Film not only transposes the history of a country but also it an opportunity for young people to engage and reap financial benefits,” said kabera.
After the festival Rwandans can look out for not only new films but also budding talents in the industry that promise to boost Rwanda cinema to even greater heights.
Film bores within it a creative industry that the youth should look out for opportunity and livelihood.
The employment opportunities in film are phenomenon there are many different layers to it such as design, acting, photography and script writing that can provide career paths,” said Kabera.
Kabera added that film gives everyone a chance to bear legacy and to tell their personal stories to the world.
Right now Rwanda cinema not only exists but it is a world brand and its growth should be an inspiration to other festivals across the continent.