The New Times (Kigali)

19 July 2014

Rwanda: Mbabazi Wins Rwanda Top Film Award

Philbert Emmy Mbabazi, 24, the brains behind a short film called Mageragere, returned home Friday night with a prestigious accolade, the Best Film of the Year Award from the Rwanda Film Festival.

Dubbed the Silverback Awards, the local film festival is one of the country's premier cultural events. It was organised by Rwanda Film Institute in collaboration with the Embassy of the People's Republic of China and hosted at Century Cinema.

"I thank Rwanda Film Institute, the organisers of the event, and all stakeholders for giving me and other young people the opportunity to develop our passions and make our dreams a reality," Mbabazi said.

Mbabazi, who had two short films shortlisted for the best gong, beat stiff competition from three other young men for the top award of the night.

The Silverback Awards came as a closing event of a seven-day countrywide film festival where, film lovers, filmmakers, industry professionals and the media were treated to the best in new local films (also known as Hillywood) as well as the international cinema industry.

The 10th edition of the festival also saw 70 films screened in various locations of the country including; Rwamagana, Musanze, Huye, and Rubavu. The move aimed at engaging locals in developing the film industry.

"The festival was also an opportunity to reflect on what the Rwanda Film Festival has put together. We had various challenges, but the development is a huge boost. We look forward for the best to come," said Eric Kabera, the organiser.

The closing ceremony was crowned with the screening of an inspiring movie, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013), which tells the story of the late South African president's struggle for equal rights and freedom for blacks in apartheid South Africa.

The film was timed to screen on Nelson Mandela International Day.

The film that was directed by Justin Chadwick, also features Idris Elba as Mandela.

At the opening of festival, Kabera's new movie, Intore (2014), a non-fiction film about the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, was premiered.

Mbabazi, a screenwriter, producer and director, has been in the film industry since 2010 and has produced four other short films. He has participated in various film festivals in Germany, Burundi and Zanzibar.

Mageragere is a 29-minutes long movie about a young man who left the village moved to the city in search for a long-time lost girlfriend.

The award comes with a free Turkish Airline ticket to any desired destination and Rwf200, 000.

The awarding ceremony also recognised the movie, Shake Hands With the Devil, as the best international film, featuring several local actors.

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