The 11th edition of the Rwandan Film festival dubbed “Hillywood” was launched on Sunday 19th July at Serena Hotel in Kigali. The festival will run up to 31st July as films from different parts of the world will be screed in Kigali city but also in rural areas of Musanze, Rwamagana and Gicumbi.

Two local short films were screened at the opening ceremony in addition to “Triangle-Going to America” by Theodros Teshome Kebede, a film director from Ethiopia. The 89 min narrative film portrays the dangerous journey of hundreds of Africans from Ethiopia, Eritrea and surroundings areas who leave their homeland to illegally travel to America for the promise of a better life.

Hillywood chairman and founder of Kwetu Film Institute Mr. Eric Kabera said during the opening remarks that the festival`s goal is to strive to provide entertainment, education and exposure to Rwandans in various parts of the country.

The pioneers of Rwanda film industry noted that in most cases film screenings hold between one thousand and five thousand people who watch the films in the Kinyarwanda language. These movies are made by Rwandan talent and consumed by Rwandan population in those settings. The festival is expected to screen local films that were produced by local filmmakers, many of whom are graduates of Kwetu Film Institute.

Professor James Muringoma, director of Rwanda Academy of Language and culture, officially launched the film festival on behalf of the ministry of sports and culture. He said that for a long time in Rwanda, the cultural industry was neglected and that time has now come for this industry to be given proper attention it deserves.

“All this areas had been forgotten or we could not realize the importance of cultural industry and we are now very proud to witness this development as the ministry”, underlined Professor Muringoma.

Local filmmakers showed that they are capable of telling stories that related to the reality in Rwanda. The two shorts films that were screened at the opening ceremony revealed daily struggles of a young man and woman in Rwanda. One of the films is “Rayisi”, a short film by Patrick Nsengimana about a young man who lost one leg to land mine back in 1997.

The 30 year-old is now a father of three who have shown extraordinary courage to overcome his disability by not only providing for his young family but also by his ability to ride a bike with one leg and his success as a long time champion in disabled cycling competitions. The short film is now in competition for this year`s 2015 Focus on Ability Film Festival in Australia.

One of 2015 Hillywood`s guests of honor is Ayuko Babu, the executive director of The Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, USA. He told Blasting News that African filmmakers should embrace film industry and make films for the more than 50 millions African – Americans audience who are naturally interested in stories from Africa that are produced by Africans.

Hillywood's 11th edition will for the next few days educate and entertain film enthusiasts throughout the country. It is being supported by Rwanda ministry of sports and culture and other sponsors. A jury is expected to award local talent with Silverbacks awards among six short films that were nominated.

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