Ethereality film cements class and mastery of Gahigiri’s work

Wednesday October 21 2020

A vidio grab of a scene in futuristic movie 'Ethereality' of the man stranded in space for 30 years but eventually coming home. It also explores the theme of Africans in the diaspora. PHOTO | Andrew I. Kazibwe


With the 56th Oscar-qualifying Chicago International Film Festival underway, Ethereality, a Rwandan film, has been selected for this prestigious event.

Directed by Kantarama Gahigiri, an award-winning director, writer, and producer, the short film is slated for an exclusive feature at the festival, held October 14 to 25.

“I am honoured to be at the Oscar- qualifying festival and to represent Rwanda,” Ms Gahigiri stated, “Filmmaking is a long journey, and when work gets international recognition at a prestigious festival, it is not only about the film, but also about the talent and many hours of dedication a whole team put into the project,” she added.

Confronting xenophobia

Ethereality is a story of being stranded in space for 30 years and is about returning home.

It is a reflection on migration and the sense of belonging. The director highlights the lives of African migrants in Europe and their discomfiture, not only because of xenophobia but also of cultural differences and the lack of bonds that cannot be easily restored.


“I hope my path inspires many, especially the younger generation, to get their voices out there, to follow and not let their dreams die,” she added.

Since its release, the film was been screened at the 2019 Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur, Switzerland, 2020 Festival international du court métrage de Clermont-Ferrand, France in February, and at 2020 Rastro Film Festival, Brazil in June, and won the Best Short Film Award.

It was later screened at the 2020 La Guarimba Film Festival, Italy in July and the 2020 Panorama Digital do Cinema Suiço, Brazil in August.

Multiple award winner

Ms Gahigiri’s first feature film Tapis Rouge, was screened and accorded recognition worldwide at various festivals including the TV5 Monde Best Francophone Feature Film (Geneva International Film Festival) and for Best Directing at Chelsea Film Festival, New York, which was followed by a theatrical release in Switzerland and France (2017).

In 2004, a Fulbright Scholarship and Swiss Benevolent Scholarship that helped her launch her film career.

A 2018 alumnus of Realness Institute's Residency, South Africa, she was selected after evaluation of more than 130 projects from the African continent. Ms Gahigiri is also an alumnus of La Fabrique Cinéma de l’Institut François, with 10 projects selected worldwide at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival, France in 2019.

She has worked on various films, TV, and commercials worldwide. Her current project is feature film Tanzanite, a futuristic, female-centric, eco-conscious odyssey that takes place in 2050 Nairobi.