Founded in 2005, the Rwanda Film Festival takes place annually in Kigali, Rwanda. Gaining international recognition in recent years, the film festival has now become a significant film event in Africa. The festival encourages the appreciation and education of cinema and art in Rwanda and includes films made in Africa and from many other countries across the globe. The film festival also allows local filmmakers the opportunity to meet with international industry professionals to discuss how cinema projects from Rwanda can be held higher in the spotlight on an international level.
The film festival, which is also known as ‘Hillywood’ because of the country’s nickname, is a travelling festival founded by Eric Kabera. The Rwanda Film Festival’s focus was initially on the topic of genocide but has, in recent years, begun to expand into topics outside of this. Films selected for the festival are taken throughout the countryside and shown in rural locations on screens that have been inflated. Kabera’s goal is to allow large populations of people who would normally not have the opportunity to see these important films to view them in their own villages. In previous years, the film festival has travelled to Rwamagana and Musanze. Rwamagana, which is east of Kigali, is the capital of the Rwamagana region. Musanze, which is north of Kigali, is located in the Volcanoes National Park and is known as the country’s tourist capital. Bringing the Hillywood film festival to these regions only helps to encourage and educate the people through the use of film.
The Rwanda Film Festival presents several awards each year to films that are submitted to the festival. These sponsored awards are known as the Silverback Awards. The awards include the Hillywood Award, the Best Feature Film, the Best Short Film, the East Africa Award, the Resilience Award, Best Director, the Audience Award, and the Out of Africa Award.
The Rwanda Film Festival is held in July each year, but the 2015 dates have not yet been set. The festival organizers expect to have a date for 2015 set soon. It is expected that the program of events and schedule of the screenings will be available on the website shortly. It is highly recommended that visitors wishing to attend film screenings at the Rwanda Film Festival book tickets as soon as they are available. The screening venues are limited in space and tickets can sell out quickly.