The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Film Festival Prep in High Gear

WITH the Rwanda Film Festival (RFF) just a few days away, organisers are busy with preparations to host numerous film makers and stakeholders from Africa and beyond.

The eighth edition of the annual festival will feature movie premieres on the closing gala night. Various internationally recognised film stars are expected to attend.

The event runs from July 14- 27 with up-and-coming directors and Hillywood A-listers, rubbing shoulders at one of Africa's biggest cinema gathering. The two-week festival will be celebrated into two phases; Hillywood which is slated to take place in various upcountry venues from July 14 - July 20 and the Kigali festival that runs from July 21 until July 27.

Speaking to The New Times, Eric Kabera, the founder of RFF and president of Kwetu-Films, the official organiser of the event, said this year's festival will be celebrated under the theme: "My Voice, My Face, My Soul, My Identity," and would feature various feature and short documentary films made in or about Africa.

"I can't wait for the RFF; it's my best event of the year. I don't only criss-cross the world in Rwanda but its fun and I learn a lot," said Bonita Amariza, a quantitative economics consultant.

"The First Grader" is among the films set to premier at the event. Set in Kenya and based on a true story, the movie revolves around Maruge, a determined 84-year-old Kenyan, who was eager to learn to read through the 'free education for all' government inititative.

"Basically, our objective is to explore this theme using the cinematic power as we bring forward images from different parts of the world to empower our sense of seeing, feeling and belonging," said Kabera.

Rwanda Film Festival is the country's only prestigious film festival. For years, the event has showcased films from all parts of the world, including, among others, Egypt, Ethiopia, Brazil, Kenya, Uganda, United States, South Africa and Rwanda.

"We can hardly wait to see what this edition has in store for us since filmmakers from around the world have become sophisticated in telling their stories," observed Christian Gakombe, a local film producer.

RFF believes film and art can lead to better understanding and foster communication between people of diverse cultures, races, and lifestyles, while at the same time, serve as a vehicle to initiate dialogue on the important issues of our times.

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