By Sharlene Versfeld and Kwazi Ngubane
Published February 16, 2013
A film directed and produced by a Rwandan filmmaker that had its World Premiere at the Gotebord Film Festival in Sweden in January 2013, has been invited to two other major international film festivals.
The Joel Karekezi film, Imbabazi: the Pardon, tells the story of the Tutsi Genocide through the friendship and separation of two protagonists and carries a deep reconciliation message.
Imbabazi: the Pardon had its USA premiere at the San Diego Black Film Festival in January 2013 and is in February set to enjoy its Los Angeles premiere at the Pan-African Film Festival.
“As an African and Rwandan director, I am proud to have helped bring this story to a wider audience.” explains Karekezi, who is himself a genocide survivor. “I was honoured to work together with my team through pre-production, production and post-production to bring this story to life. I hope that audiences will embrace the message of hope and forgiveness that is at the heart of the film.”
Clearly Karekezi is a young filmmaker to watch. With a diploma in film directing from Cinecours Canada, he has fast garnered accolades, awards and notice for his work. In 2010 his short film The Pardon won the best short film award at Silicon Valley African Film Festival (SVAFF), California. In 2012 he had a second project, The Mercy of the Jungle, in the DFM, which was awarded the Canal France International (CFI) Award for the Most Promising Project with a prize of 5000 Euros.
Imbabazi: the Pardon, produced and directed by Rwandan film-maker Joel Karekezi, was one of the features that was selected for the 2011 Durban FilmMart–a joint programme of the Durban Film Office (DFO) and the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF)– where the film was also awarded the CineMart Rotterdam Lab Award at the DFM, which provided the up and coming producer with accreditation, accommodation and transportation to attend the Lab, an incubator for producers of new projects which ran concurrently with the 2012 International Film Festival of Rotterdam.
Imbabazi: The Pardon was one of the features that was selected for the 2011 Durban FilmMart where it was also awarded the CineMart Rotterdam Lab Award at the DFM, which provided the up and coming producer with accreditation, accommodation and transportation to attend the Lab, an incubator for producers of new projects which ran concurrently with the 2012 International Film Festival of Rotterdam.
“Over the past three years, we have seen how the Durban FilmMart has provided important stepping blocks for film projects,” says Toni Monty of the Durban Film Office. “The process of creating film is long and arduous, and it is vital that emerging film-makers and projects are given the creative space to be able to develop their ideas and vision in the right kind of environment. Joel has clearly grasped at all the opportunities presented to him to develop this film. So we are truly pleased to see this, one of our selected projects, make it through to multi-festival festival releases. ”
The 4th edition of Durban FilmMart takes place July 19-22, 2013 during the Durban International Film Festival (July 18-28, 2013) and is open for documentary and fiction project submissions. The closing date for project submissions is February 15, 2013.