Two Rwandan films have been shortlisted to compete at this year’s edition of the Durban International Film Festival that opens in South Africa next month. In its 39th edition, this year’s festival opens on July 19, and runs until July 29 in Durban.
The theme for this year is; Evolution: No Filmmaker Left Behind.
The Rwandan films selected both fall in the short film category: Disconnected, by budding film director, producer and writer Shema Deve; and Akarwa, by Yuhi Amuli.
According to Amuli, there could be more Rwandan film entries at the festival.
“We got emails announcing our selection, but perhaps there are others that we don’t know of yet. We will know once the official selection is announced on the festival’s website less than five days from now,” he said.
“It is a huge achievement to see my film featured in this great and respectable film festival. It is a good start for the movie because it’s now in the spotlight. Many people around the world, including great producers and TVs are going to see the film, which is good for me as an upcoming filmmaker,” explained Shema in an interview with The New Times.
“It also puts my country Rwanda on the international film market as this helps them better understand our stories.”
It is the second time the budding film maker is taking part in an international film festival, courtesy of the same film. The first was at the Cefalu Film Festival in Italy earlier this year.
In Disconnected, Shema tells the story of a young man who, during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, refuses to kill the girl of his yearning, even under his father’s furious pressure to murder her.
However, owing to financial constraints, the two Rwandan filmmakers are doubtful of making the trip down to South Africa next month.
“It’s sad and discouraging because at the festival your presence counts a lot. Like if a producer likes your movie and he needs to talk to you about it and you are not there, that’s a big loss. Otherwise to be in such a big festival is like an open door for you to gold mine. You get a chance to pitch your other projects to great producers.”