How virtual films came of age with a splash through Urusaro

Monday October 12 2020

Last year's Urusaro International Women's Film Festival in Kigali. This festival is holding it's first ever virtual edition this year; Photo ~ Andrew. I Kazibwe


The fifth edition of Urusaro International Women Film Festival, organised by Ciné Femmes Rwanda  October 4-11), of young women developing cinema art and culture. Festival director Florianne Kaneza spoke to Andrew I. Kazibwe


How is this Urusaro different from previous editions?

A huge difference. The others held music, dance, poetry and were very inclusive and physical. Reason is they mostly relied upon the physical presence of people through live panel discussions, film screenings, workshops, and other activities, but this is majorly a virtual set up. We are using TV broadcasts, where films and panel discussions will be aired via TV10.

We have discussed film/cinema investment, the local film market and copyright law.

How is the 2020 organisation in line with the theme?


Last year's theme was Women as a Pillar of Cinema, to give more space and expression to women. For this year's theme Cinema as a Tool for Development, we thought it wiser to come back home, and not just centered on women or men, but we are projecting onto something bigger.

From lessons learned from this, future editions will see us organize both a physical and virtual festivals.

How do you rate women in cinema?

Today, several young women are raising the flag locally and internationally. Opening up more spaces for expression is credited for this. With organisations like the Imbuto Foundation training women in film, there is increased par-ticipation and groundbreaking.

What lessons have you learnt organising a virtual festival?

The virtual version is something we are likely to adopt as part of our set up henceforth if we are to reach out to a wider audience.

In past editions, we worked at Rwandan, East African, and African levels. In the Sixth edition next year, we are to launch an international award to show why and how the Covid-19 health crisis contributed to the industry's growth.

A start-up having smaller audiences doesn't limit organisers from incorporating international partners, audiences and juries. All these open great exchanges and opportunities.

What major areas were cited crucial for cinema development?

We realised we long focused on cinema and ignored that men help build women profiles too. From some of these male voices, we have been advised that the voice for women, in general, should be the voice for cinema too.

What major challenges have you encountered in staging up this edition?

As usual, funding, but the major one has been the drastic team cocktail. This edition required us to deploy a team equipped with production skills, which we will gradually need. We have partnered with MOPAS, a film school, for close to a month, dedicated to the production.

It wasn't easy acquiring a platform in support of broadcasts.