Kivu Ruhorahoza’s “Grey Matter” won a warm response at the Tribeca Film Festival, winning both a special jury mention and a best actor prize for star Ramadhan “Shami” Bizimana.
Ruhorahoza’s first feature film ‘Why He’s On Our Radar’ was the first ever from a Rwandan filmmaker.
Ruhorahoza explained that “Grey Matter” is a movie “about imagination and madness.” He said he simply wanted to mirror the lives and confusion of young Rwandan people struggling with trauma.
“I wanted to show on screen the loss of sanity that so many of us in Rwanda have experienced,” Ruhorahoza said.
“I never wanted to become a footballer or any type of hero,” Ruhorahoza told indieWIRE. “I was often sick and somewhat a strange kid.
Right after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, I was 11 and really confused. I was reading so many books for adults (Oscar Wilde, Flaubert and Norman Mailer) and decided that I would become a writer.”
He added: “In my teenage years, I watched lots of Hollywood movies and would write really pathetic short stories and poems.
Then one day, I accidentally watched a movie on TV from Ivory Coast called ‘In the Name of the Christ.’ I was stunned by its power and originality.”
The main challenge was a classic one: money. Like any other young filmmaker, I thought my script was amazing and that everyone would agree with me on that obvious fact.
I applied for some grants and did not get any money. I asked support from the Ministry Of Culture and all I got was a ‘To Whom It May Concern’ letter informing everyone that I was allowed to shoot my film.
At the end, I had to make the film with my very meagre savings, friends and family’s financial support and with tremendous support of the guys from Scarab Studio Films in Australia and my editor Antonio Rui Ribeiro from London.
The other challenge was the experience. First-time filmmakers do not have the idea of how much you have to be meticulously prepared to shoot a feature length movie. Mentally, you really have to be strong and prepared for all sorts of scenarios and everyday unforeseen events.
Ruhorahoza is currently completing his second feature film and the story is about an African gay man who is deported from a European country to an African one.