The Rwanda Film Festival (RFF) is an initiative of the Rwanda Cinema Center (RCC) whose main objective is to showcase Rwandan efforts to tell their own stories and expose these to the wider international audience. This festival has come a long way and is now celebrating the seventh year running. One of the main attractions is the travelling component in which mostly locally produced films are taken around the country and shown to enthusiastic rural audience.
One of the main constraints in accessing information in Rwanda is the dismal access to television. It is estimated that only 2% of the Rwandan population have access to television. There is only one free channel and the others have been commercialized leaving the poor Rwandans with nothing to chose. It is against this back drop that RFF saw the need to communicate with the rural population. The festival takes the films to the people in the hills where they live.
The process begins with training aspiring young Rwandan film makers after which films are produced in the local language, Kinyarwanda. These films address a wide range of issues but particularly those that affect Rwandan youth such as HIV AIDS awareness, reconciliation, drug abuse and also humour.
The Festival team is composed of dedicated volunteers and a logistical team that ensures a smooth screening in the four corners of the country. The Hillywood team utilizes specialized equipments that were kindly donated to the Rwanda Cinema centre by Phil Rosenthal and Monica Rosenthal of the “Every Body Loves Raymond” fame. Other additional equipments support came from the Open Air Cinema.
Every year the team runs road shows in collaboration with local authorities in an event that has won the hearts of many youth. The screenings are set up on open football grounds under the moonlight. This is truly a cultural festival in the hills where traditional dances are performed and general entertainment activities prior to the screenings which can only begin after 6,00pm.
The films are screened to as many as 5000 people in each of the seven locations that the team visits. The climax of each screening is always the presentation of the cast to the audience that is followed by Q&A session that runs for two hours. During this time the issues regarding the themes in the films are discussed as well as the process of making the films. Increasingly this has become the gathering of demystifying the filmmaking process and a recruiting ground for passionate writers and future filmmakers.
Hillywood has become a major attraction for the foreign guests patronizing the Rwanda Film Festival. It is also a true festive activity for the Rwandans living in the most remote parts of the country.
NYAGATARE : JULY 16th, 2011
RWAMAGANA : JULY 17th, 2011
GICUMBI : JULY 18th, 2011
RUBAVU : JULY 19th, 2011
MUSANZE : JULY 20th, 2011
KARONGI : JULY 21st .2011
HUYE : JULY 22nd, 2011