In 2005, Kivu Ruhorahoza from Rwanda became the first director of the Rwanda Film Festival. His short film Lost in the South (2008) won the award for best African short film at the 25th Pan Africa Film Festival in Montreal. His feature debut, Grey Matter (2011), is the first long narrative film directed by a Rwandan filmmaker in his homeland.
On Air: Kivu Ruhorahoza
The ikono On Air Festival is showing Kivu Ruhorahoza’s film Energy (2012). This film was made in response to an invitation from Olafur Eliasson to create a short film about light, life, energy, and his Little Sun lamp.
Born in Kigali in 1982, Kivu Ruhorahoza entered the film career working as a production assistant for a year for a Rwandan producer, after he was promoted to production manager, where he used to assist a lot of crews coming in Rwanda for news from the BBC or CNN, but his passion was film.
Kivu Ruhorahoza arrived on the international film platform in 2007 with his first short film Confession which won the City of Venice Award at the Milan African, Asian and Latin American Film Festival and was screened at the Venice Film Festival. His second short film Lost in the South(2008) won Best African Short Film at the Vues D’Afrique Festival in Montreal and was screened at the Rotterdam International Film Festival.
In 2011 Kivu Ruhorahoza lifted his career after releasing his first feature film “Grey Matter”, a film about trauma and madness in the aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. The film was produced in Rwanda in unstable financial situations, but it had a great success and went on to play at international prestigious film festivals including Tribeca, Melbourne, Warsaw, Rotterdam, Dubai, Durban, Göteborg and Rio.
In an interview with Tribeca Film Festival, Kivu related the trauma found in his film with the actual situation in his country Rwanda, he stated “We are a nation of traumatized people who never got any professional help, because how are you going to get professional help to millions of people? So people there still have all these irrational reactions to things, or you see people being cold when they should show some kind of emotion. You see people dealing with situations in really weird ways. But again, the role of the woman in my country is to hold the family together, and I think they’ve done an amazing job because rape was really widespread during the conflict. It was terrible.”
From 2012 Kivu is working on a new feature film “Jomo”, about the life of young homosexual Kenyan deported from England to Kenya where he faces a homophobic rejecting society.
- Kivu Ruhorahoza on Wikipedia
- Kivu Ruhorahoza on Twitter
- Kivu Ruhorahoza on IMDB
- TRIBECA FUTURES | Kivu Ruhorahoza: The First Rwandan Filmmaker
- Film Africa: An Interview with Kivu Ruhorahoza, director of Grey Matter
Grey Matter: TFF Director Interview
Tribeca Film Festival speaks with Kivu Ruhorahoza, Writer/Director of 2011 Tribeca Film Festival Official Selection, “Grey Matter”.
Armed with a daring and creative visual language, writer/director Kivu Ruhorahoza boldly grasps at the illusory trick of representation in the wake of trauma and its ensuing madness. Paralleling the protagonist in his film, Ruhorahoza’s debut marks the very first feature-length narrative film directed by a Rwandan filmmaker living in his homeland.
Grey Matter Writer-Director Kivu Ruhorahoza at Tribeca
Grey Matter, the first feature film made by a Rwandan living in Rwanda, is a film-within-a-film about a filmmaker, Balthazar, trying to make a film, The Cycle of the Cockroach, about brother-sister characters coping with the trauma of the Rwandan genocide. It’s a haunting, skillful blend of metaphor, reality, hallucination and nightmare.The film, written and directed by 28-year-old Kivu Ruhorahoza, won a Special Jury Mention in the Best New Narrative Director category and a Best Actor award for Shami Bizimana as Yvan, the mad brother.
Liza Béar interviewed Rivu Ruhorahoza on April 28 at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. Interview location courtesy East of Eighth, West 23rd St, Chelsea. Interview is continued in Part II below.