Rwanda: ‘Tumenye Sinema’ initiative opens doors to Rubavu, Muhanga filmmakers


A TOTAL OF 100 budding filmmakers were last weekend selected to join ‘Tumenye Sinema’ initiative’s training camp as the initiative extends operations to two more sites in Rubavu District, Western Province and Muhanga in Southern Province.

Funded by European Union, the project is being implemented by Mashariki Africa Film Festival (MAFF) with an objective to empower young filmmakers with creative and technical skills, create a platform for collective action focusing on domestic content creation, promote self-employment while encouraging self-expression through own story-telling and reach 400 unemployed youth with an interest in joining the film industry.

The selected young filmmakers were confirmed to join the second cohort of the initiative which received 280 applications in Muhanga while 250 applied in Rubavu.

They were selected from both sites after passing interviews done throughout last weekend.

Like previously done in Musanze and Huye, the newly-selected trainees will undergo intensive training in filmmaking after which they will, under the initiative, be able to make world-class film projects that can compete at international scene.   

The first cohort of the initiative has seen at least 200 young filmmakers from the Musanze and Huye Districts empowered under the project.

These students take different courses in Film Production, Basic Directing, Cinematography, Sound and Editing. They also do short courses in Leadership and Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Co-operative management for them to start up their own businesses after the courses.

 So far students from Huye and Musanze districts have already set up their own co-operatives and their films have already won many awards in the Film Mashariki African Film Festival after competing with other films in the competition.

To date, more festival organisers across the world like Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF), Luxor Film Festival in Egypt, African Films Festival in Texas, Silicon Valley Film Festival in California and Festival Avis d’Afrique in Canada are interested in having these films to participate in their festivals while they are also approaching the filmmakers to attend their festivals.

After the courses, the equipment used during the training sessions are given to the trainees’ co-operative for use in their daily activities.

For instance, ‘A Story to Tell’, a film produced by young filmmakers from Musanze Site, won the ‘Best Actress’ prize at the 2021 Mashariki African Film Festival while ‘The Talent’, which is a movie produced by trainees from Huye site, was also among the films that excited festival participants.

According to Tresor Senga, the brains behind both, the festival, ‘Tumenye Sinema’ is already showing positive signs that Rwanda could sooner or later produce talented filmmakers that can change the game of the film industry thanks to the initiative.

“The initiative is having a very impressive impact on their filmmaking careers so far since festival organisers are already getting interested in the films of our trainees to participate at different festivals across the world,” Senga told The New Times.

“We want to see the initiative producing more filmmakers, from each of the sites it is operating, making a difference in the cinema world,” he added.

‘Tumenye Sinema’ is a four-year project that started in January 2021 and will run until 2024. It empowers them with skills varying from directing, cinematography, scriptwriting, acting, sound and editing as well as cooperative management, among other skills.