The family of world cinema

2012 Durban Talent Press participant Katarina Hedrén interviews Rwandan filmmaker Kivu Ruhorahoza, the director of GREY MATTERS, whose first short film CONFESSION (2006) won the City of Venice Award at the Milan African Film Festival.

Rwandan filmmaker Kivu Ruhorahoza

What inspired your story?

My efforts to make two short films, but failing because they were considered too dark as well as sharing what happened in Rwanda.

Tell me about your style.

I use metaphors because it costs less, and I don’t want to translate complex realities into "easy-reading". African poetry is complex and full of wisdom. I want to bring that into filmmaking. People say that Africans would not understand, but that is not true.

Where do you position yourself as a filmmaker?

I am an artist who has a role to play in society. I want to make films that talk about important issues in an elegant way; package them as cinema. Radical cinema like Diop Mambéty's TOUKI BOUKI. It's okay to be frivolous or experimental as long as you are free. I don't want to teach people how to put on a condom. Hopefully people will say in the future that I share more with a South Korean or Mexican filmmaker. That is what I want: to belong to the family of world cinema.

What makes the suffering worth it?

It is about seeing my actress crying and realize that she understands and is touched, and about someone sending an anonymous e-mail to say that they were moved.

Share the history of how your film was saved last minute.

I funded the pre-production and the shooting. I ran out of money so I just waited for the whole of 2010, but kept sending out rough cuts. One day the Tribeca Film festival wrote to say that they believed it could become a good film. They gave me 18 days to deliver the film, and with the guarantee that they would program it, I was able to raise the money to finalize the film.