Sunday, February 21, 2010
Hello everyone !
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
We'll introduce you to a remarkable man from Rwanda. He was on the telephone with his fiance when she was ripped away by the militia. He never saw her again. But he survived".
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Sorry about the lack of updates in the past few weeks. Our production team has been extremely busy preparing our proposals to pitch to the various television broadcasters.
We are currently waiting to hear back about funding and can't wait to get back to Rwanda and follow up on our incredible stories.
Stay tuned for a extended teaser trailer early next week.
- The Production Team
Friday, September 4, 2009
Below is the second part in a series of blog posts written by co-Director Jonathan Weiman on the experience of making his first broadcast television documentary
Once we had decided to take the leap and begin working on the documentary, I knew the first thing we needed to do was to crystallize our vision and get it on paper. Without a proposal and treatment, we would not be able to get funding. And finding money is one of the hardest steps in the documentary process. Because there were three of us, we decided that the most efficient way of working would be to divide and conquer. While Torey and myself met daily about how the film should be constructed, our colleague Emerson did extensive research on both the historical and political state of Rwanda. Following our initial discussions, Torey went on to shape the treatment, while I wrote the proposal.
The production company issue was solved when Torey called his former boss at OPC Films where he had worked as an intern, to ask his advice on how to proceed with the project. Harland Weiss, the managing executive producer of the company was so impressed with our idea that he not only gave us a substantial amount of money, but the full resources of his office and key personnel. For video equipment we were able to call in a favor with OPC’s affiliate company Steam, and get a great HD camera on loan as well as some related accessories. For the audio, we knew we could not afford a professional recordist so we hired an outside consultant from L.A to give us advice based on our particular situation, and we were able to get a discounted rate from a rental house because of the relationship they had with OPC. Lastly, in terms of marketing, we set up an official website, a Twitter page and a Facebook profile in order to harness the full potential of the internet and growing social media sites. Between the website and the social marketing pages, we were able to capture the attention of at least 800 fans and followers within the first two weeks. Now that we were finished school, and had a production company behind us, we moved into full pre-production mode on the project, still needing a significant amount of funding with only 6 weeks before we were to depart for Kigali.
Right before we started pre-production at the OPC offices, Torey and myself were given the once in a lifetime opportunity of attending the Doc U program at Hot Docs. Not only were we given a pass to see every film at the festival, but also enrolled in a series of workshops that takes emerging filmmakers through all aspects of the documentary process. Amongst the countless things I learned during these incredible seminars, the most beneficial to me was the idea that documentaries must be truly nurtured, and this takes an incredible amount of time and energy. As we left the final seminar, myself and Torey both looked at each other and decided this was not a film we could make in one six week trip. We would have to go back more than once, and slowly follow our characters at different moments in their lives. Films such as Invisible City and Burma VJ took many years to develop, and hearing these directors tell us about their lengthy process put many things into perspective.
Without going into too much detail, the pre-production process was a non-stop, no sleep ordeal which consumed my life right until the day we left for Rwanda. Between learning how to budget down to the exact dollar, renting a wide array of equipment and making sure the travel details were in order, I was extremely relieved when the day came to fly out of Pearson Airport
In the final stretch before we departed, Chris Woods, a world-renowned director and photographer fell in love with our project and offered his time to join us for two weeks in Rwanda along with his collegue Jeff Low. Our executive producer Harland also decided to visit us, and he booked a flight as well. We were finally ready to leave.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
The team is proud to announce that in addition to Harland Weiss, Ian Thompson and Karen Hanson have joined the team as Executive Producers !
Ian Thompson’s filmography includes an impressive array of film and television productions. He is currently executive producing the documentary Pushing The Line: Art Without Reservations for BRAVO!. Recently, he executive produced the documentary Small Places, Small Homes and directed the award-winning documentary Fundamental Freedoms, both for OMNI Television. A professor in Media Arts at Sheridan College, Ian has written, directed and produced a number of dramatic films including an adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Boor. Featuring Gemini Award winner Colm Feore, The Boor aired on Global TV and YLE 2 Finnish Broadcasting Corporation and was nominated for a Golden Sheaf award for Best Film at the Yorkton Festival.
Ian also co- wrote, directed and produced the award-winning Three Lives of Kate, which was narrated by Golden Globe winner Sandra Oh and screened at such festivals as Valladolid in Spain and Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Children.
His most recent award-winning film, The Unfolding, is currently screening internationally. In addition to his dramatic works, Ian has directed and produced documentaries and permanent installations for the Royal Ontario Museum.
With a diverse background in the Canadian cultural industry, Karen Hanson brings a wide range of skills to Tilt Cinema. She worked in book publishing for a number of years, most recently as an acquisitions editor for HarperCollins Canada, where she developed a list of critically acclaimed fiction and non-fiction titles that have sold internationally and been optioned for the screen.
Within the film business, she co- wrote, directed and produced the award-winning Three Lives of Kate, which screened at over 35 festivals worldwide and aired on CBC and HBO. She recently completed Still Moves, a series of thematically linked films including An Even Briefer History of Time, which has shown at festivals worldwide.
An instructor in the Media Fundamentals program at Sheridan College, Karen also works as a script analyst for both The Harold Greenberg Fund and Telefilm Canada.
Below is the first part in a series of blog posts written by co-Director Jonathan Weiman on the experience of making his first broadcast television documentary.
Due to the success of a documentary I had produced and directed on teenage mental health in the summer of 2008, I was approached to direct a film for Narrative Therapy, an organization that deals with victims of genocide throughout Rwanda and Israel. However early in the development stage, the project was put on hold. Because of my continuing interest in Rwanda, Emerson Clarke, a Queen’s politics and French student connected me with Eugene Nshimiymana, an African literature professor and survivor of the genocide. I wanted to meet Eugene to find out more about Rwanda, to hear his personal account of what happened during the genocide, and to pick his brain for ideas about how to approach the Narrative Therapy documentary.
From the second I sat down to meet Eugene, I was immediately struck by his warmth and charisma. He said he was honored to speak with me and tell me his story. After a pitcher of beer at 11:30 AM, he began to briefly explain how he survived the Rwandan genocide and came back six years later in order to form a soccer team, consisting of young adults, some of whom were orphaned and displaced by the deaths of their parents. Towards the end of the meeting, I mentioned there was a beautiful documentary to be made from this idea of soccer as a healing tool for the youth of Rwanda. Eugene agreed and it was decided we would look into the idea of making a film in Rwanda.
Exactly one week later, after I told Torey Kohara about the idea, we, in addition to Emerson Clarke, met with Eugene and it was decided this was a film that had to be made, regardless of our busy schedules and complicated social lives. We had a beautiful idea, but not much else. No script, no funding and certainly no footage.
Check out this beautiful article on Rwanda featured in the Globe and Mail Travel Section from Wednesday, August 26th
Thursday, August 20, 2009 Labels: Football
Monday, August 17, 2009 Labels: Canada AM
Wednesday, August 12, 2009 Labels: Militia Camp
The Mutobo Demobilization and Reintegration camp is a one of a kind place in the world and somewhere that few outsiders have ever experienced or even seen. The possibility of visiting this camp became a reality when we went to meet the President of the Demobilization and Re-integration camp. He granted us permission to visit the camp and arranged for a government car to drive us there and back in the same day. Jon came down with malaria so he couldn’t make it on this trip but we had to go ahead with this unique opportunity.
After a two hour drive just past the northernmost city of Ruhengeri, we arrived at Mutobo. All the structures belonging to the camp were simple and made of corrugated steel and nothing was fenced in. The individuals attending this camp are all ex-combatants formerly belonging to armed groups. Most have spent the last 15 years since the genocide in 1994 in militia camps in the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) just across its border with Rwanda. The RPF (Rwanda Patriotic Front), which stands as Rwanda’s government until present day, mobilized while in exile in Uganda and entered Rwanda to end the genocide in 1994. As a result of this takeover, the genocidal regime and its supporters along with many civilians who were virtually taken hostage fled into the DRC. Once in the DRC, the F.D.L.R. (Front Democratique pour la Liberation du Rwanda)) was created as an armed group aimed at taking back the country in order to reinstate a genocidal regime.
We took a tour of the camp, entered the sleeping quarters and even attended a class to listen in on the lesson of the day: “How to start a small business.” After touring around and getting some truly remarkable footage, we met with the coordinator of the camp for an interview. He began by explaining how ex-combatants left these jungle militia camps voluntarily to return to their native country. Once at the Rwandan border, they are screened, identified and then sent to this camp to be educated on how the last 15 years have changed Rwanda. Aside from getting them up to speed on modern day Rwanda, the camp also focuses on how these individuals can most successfully be reintegrated into society. Upon discharge, each person is given 50,000 Rwandan Francs ($60).
The camp coordinator arranged for us to interview a man with the military rank of Major in the F.D.L.R. who had been at the camp for two weeks. He gave us his account and was surprisingly open about his experiences in the DRC and the sequence of events that brought him here. He described what it was like to be living in a constant state of war while in the jungle militia camp. He even explained how he orchestrated his escape with 30 of his soldiers with the help of the UN. He admitted to us that he still had approximately 500 soldiers under him that remained in the DRC. It was his wish that they also leave but the highest ranking officers of the F.D.L.R. were propagating fear of leaving by saying they will be killed as soon as they arrive in Rwanda. This was clearly not true and further proved to us how far Rwanda has come.
Monday, August 17th , 7:40 AM / CTV - CANADA AM interview with premier of exclusive footage.
A couple of days later we found out Mission FC (Sammy, Rashid and Eugene’s team) had a game scheduled; their first in a month. The only problem was that the game was in Gitarama, 45 minutes away from Kigali and they needed to rent a bus but did not have enough money. We pitched in for the bus and went to Gitarama with the team; and it was a very spirited ride. We got involved in some Kinyarwandan sing-alongs and even had some pretty hilarious freestyle battles.
We got to the field, which consisted of two rickety goals made of logs and a heavily slanted playing field. The local team showed up with quite with a fairly lively crowd that slowly filled up the overlooking hillsides. It was a spirited battle but Mission FC lost the game 0-2 but the trip was definitely a great time for everybody involved.
We made some serious strides with the boys from the Kimisagara Youth Centre in the last week. On two occasions they invited us to meet them at the youth centre so they could show us their neighborhoods and their homes. We were really interested but didn’t really know exactly what to expect. We met Sammy, Rashid and Eugene and then just started walking towards the neighborhoods adjacent to the youth centre. In other words, we were leaving what had become a bit of a comfort zone for some seriously uncharted territory.
So the boys tell us we are going to visit each of their homes and then start leading the way. We enter “Quartier des Bandits” a nickname given to the area ten or so years ago because of a concentration of criminals in the area (now it is safe, during the day at least). We know immediately after turning our first corner that muzungus never really come around these parts but, nevertheless, we felt safe the entire time. We got a lot of quick glances and even more long stares. A trail of curious and excited kids laughing and shouting “muzungu!” began to form behind us as we went deeper into this neighborhood; we never did manage to lose them.
The first stop was Eugene’s house where he lives with an older man since being off the street. Next stop was Rashid’s place where he lives on his own in one room with a bed and night table but was proud to show us a Canadian flag right beside that of Rwanda. Our last stop was Sammy’s house where he lives with his uncle so he can attend school. After visiting all the boys’ homes they had one more place to show us that ended up being quite a surprise. As we meandered into a different area of their neighborhood they began to explain where they were taking us. It was a regular hangout for them and their friends: the local movie theater. It was one classroom size room filled with wooden chairs with a 20-inch TV in the top right corner of the room blaring a Bollywood movie. We went in to relax a bit, chatted up the owner and got some great footage. Afterwards, we parted ways with Sammy, Rashid and Eugene feeling we had gotten to know each other a bit better.
Hello Everyone !
Thursday, July 16, 2009 Labels: Departed Kigali
The trip has been a thought provoking life changing journey, and we will update you with a detailed post later next week.
Please keep following our blog for weekly updates and stay tuned for a exclusive trailer coming in August.
Saturday, July 11, 2009 Labels: photo journal
Friday, July 3, 2009 Labels: Genocide Memorial
There is something really real about Rwanda. Not because the genocide comes up in every conversation between Muzungus and locals but because people have already reconciled with their land, the ground beneath their feet. At the sites of mass murder, life goes on because it must but as an outsider you can’t help but want to notice every single detail in order to improve your understanding. We were at the Ntarama church memorial with Eugene. After visiting the site, we all sat down on the curb of the main path and Eugene just started talking in his subdued, yet deeply emotional tone that emerges when he comes face to face with his past. He finished speaking and we all sat there, immobile, silent, overwhelmed and confused. Maybe no one wanted to make the first move or maybe we felt Eugene had to, either way we sat there trying to absorb what we had just heard and seen. As we stared ahead, a small branch fell slowly, as its leaves caught the wind, from the tree closest to us in between the church and the Sunday school. It broke the silence without making any noise and we all slowly stood up. It was a reminder to stand up and keep going. Life moves with the ebb and flow of death and it was this branch’s turn to go. This small detail halted everyone’s train of thought, or lack thereof, but at the same time etched this moment into my memory, for how long, I don’t know. Memorials remember death and the lives that should still be but this branch reminded us Rwanda is still so alive. If anything, it only elucidates how useless the killings were just as this branch left for another to grow. After all, it is the way the tree grows, similar to the way a country can grow. The genociders took it upon themselves to impose their own changes, or ‘growth’ as they most likely saw it. True growth can never come in the wake of such man-made atrocities.The genocide took half the tree but this branch was enough to remind all of us there to keep on going.
Labels: Reconciliation Camp
We traveled to Rwanda’s northernmost city, Ruhengeri, to visit the Peace and Reconciliation camp. We were invited and provided transport by the President of the Commission for Reconciliation and Unity to go see this important project for Rwanda’s future. Rwandans planning on attending public university must attend this Reconciliation camp to learn Rwandan history and the values of Reconciliation and Unity. We arrived and were escorted into an auditorium filled with hundreds of students singing songs. Much to our surprise, we were brought up on stage as the singing continued but as it slowly subsided we were handed the microphone to introduce ourselves in front of all the students. After we briefly told the crowd why we were here, singing resumed to officially welcome us as the student body erupted into song. The camp bases itself on discipline and oneness but borrows some militaristic concepts to achieve this end. Although the men and women attending this camp are by no means part of the army, they all wear camouflage military uniforms to instill the discipline and collective identity this camp is trying to teach. Next we were invited to eat lunch with everybody. Before entering the dining hall, all the students sit on the ground in rows to wait until their row is summoned. Once inside we were handed nothing but spoons and told to split up and sit down beside someone and share their food. As you can imagine, our reaction was something along the lines of “Really?!?” Anyway, we all sat down at different tables and dug our spoons into someone’s else bowl of mashed avocado, beans and some other mush. Its funny how quickly you can make friends at the Reconciliation camp. After lunch, we interviewed the Captain of the school, a headmaster of sorts, as well as a female and a male student to get some insight into the experience offered at this very unique place.