Is Rwanda the Rising Star of African Film?

Over the past few years, Rwanda has emerged as one of Africa’s success stories and one of the biggest success stories in the world. Politically, economically and socially Rwanda has made reforms that have seen it emerge from the devastation caused by the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis and become a leading destination for both tourists and investors.

As a country, Rwanda is committed to strengthening its core economic sectors including its coffee and tea sectors, its tourism industry, and generating investments in other key areas. As a travel and investment destination, the country has myriad of opportunities for those willing to be a part of its growth. With great diversity, innovation and vision in such a small country, Rwanda is destined to be an economic, ICT and cultural hub in the region.

Arts and Culture in Rwanda

The richness of Rwanda’s culture including its visual arts, performing arts, poetry and lifestyle is incredibly diverse for a people that speak one language and occupy a small country in the heart of Africa. The country’s historical and cultural sites, cultural spaces and festivals have recently been given more attention and support regionally and globally as Rwandans find various ways to express the uniqueness of their country and its people.

Among the featured cultural festivals on the Rwandan calendar are the Pan African Dance Festival (FESPAD), the Ingoma Nshya Drum Festival, Mashariki African Film Festival and the Rwanda Film Festival. These events bring local, regional and international participants and enthusiasts together to create unique and memorable experiences. The festivals also foster an environment for young Rwandans to learn from others in their creative fields as well as to create unique performances and films produced by Rwandans.

Film Industry in Rwanda

According to H.E. Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda, “the story of Rwandan film is essentially the story of Rwanda itself.”

It is an industry that literally started with nothing, and that has grown through creativity, vision, collaboration, and partnership. The Rwanda Film Festival is an exceptional event that brings the art of cinema and an appreciation of film to local communities, film students, enthusiastic filmgoers, and to the leadership of the country.

During his latest interview with Los Angeles times, Eric Kabera, the founder of the Rwanda Film Festival and KWETU Film Institute had this to say, “The Rwanda Film Festival stands out on the African continent and internationally. When kids see giant inflatable screen blow up in the hills of Rwanda and the images projected on it, they feel both entertained and empowered”

Ishmael Ntihabose, producer of Kinyarwanda, believes that there are many stories to tell, “We need more ways to express ourselves. There is no shortage of stories waiting to be told in Rwanda and even the poorest people deserve to be heard and to tell their stories in their own words”

Rwanda as a filmmaking destination

Majestic mountain ranges, countless rolling hills, beautiful savannah stretching out as far as the eye can see, cool deep lakes with lush green shores and possibly the cleanest capital city on the continent with the best views at sunset, Rwanda is a perfect destination for filmmakers making movies not only set in Rwanda but set in any other country.

Rwanda’s diversity is unique: large sprawling homes, new estates and gated communities dot the capital city’s hills while older, colonial style homes and more densely populated neighborhoods can be found throughout the country; spectacular nature and wildlife are unmatched within the three amazing varied national parks—Nyungwe National Park, a dense and stunning rainforest, Volcanoes National Park, a volcanic mountainous range, and Akagera National Park a sprawling savannah and breathtaking, varied landscapes unsurpassed anywhere in the region.

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