Filmmakers call for govt help

Wednesday March 20 2019


One of the film screening exercises at Kigali’s Goethe Institute. Filmmakers face a challenge of lack of enough space for showcasing. PHOTO | Andrew I. Kazibwe  

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Rwandan filmmakers have called on the government to include them in planning to develop the local creative sector.

With the Rwanda Film Office being set up, filmmakers are asking to be enjoined and contribute so as to address challenges facing the film industry as they build the film sector.

The Rwanda Film Federation is urging the government to recognise them as it sets up plans and policy.

“It is important to engage filmmakers and understand wour struggle so as to open more opportunities in the industry,” said Ahmed Harerimana, the federation’s General Secretary.

The Rwandat Film Office, which is under Rwanda Development Board, the tourism sector and MINISPOC, is an initiative to facilitate and harness film tourism.

The office, which is expected to be a one-stop centre, will facilitate local and foreign filmmakers in setting up production, getting permits, pushing throught incentives and linking various institutions, as well as market and promote the country’s interest.

“Though we are still at the consultation stage with various experts including local filmmakers, the Rwanda Film Office has started working. However, we await the government’s approval for it to fully become operational,” said Belise Kariza, RDB’s Chief Tourism Officer.

The project, which started in 2017, and into which RFW200 million was pumped in, further involves setting up the operations of the office and deploying experts, Kariza added.

Mr Harerimana says that the growth of Rwandan cinema is only known by very few people.

“Our film sector has not reached the standard we would have wished,” Harerimana adds“ We do not make films that target foreign audiences, but even the ones we screen here, only seem to attract foreigners, meaning Rwandans haven’t yet embraced the cinema culture,” explains Clemantine Dusabejambo, a filmmaker.

“The Arts is capable of bridging the employment gap among youth,” affirms Esperance Nyirasafari, the Minister of Sports and Culture. The creative and Arts industry if cultivated, could generate creation of 1.5 million jobs in the next 7 years.

Mr Harerimana adds that filmmaking is also limited by post-production funding constraints.

Rwanda holds a few annual film festivals like the Rwanda Film Festival, Mashariki Film Festival, Rwanda Christian Film Festival, to 1000 Hills Academy Awards and Urusaro International Film Festival.

“These need more boost from the government, since most of them haven’t reached the desired professional standards,” Harerimana adds.