By Ogova Ondego
Published March 15, 2015
The inaugural Mashariki African Film Festival (MAAFF) in Kigali, Rwanda, has on March 14, 2015 announced the winners in the various competitions it presented.
Among those whose creativity stood out were children.
While Pacifique Iradukunda of Rwanda won the Best Male Actor award, Michelle Kamunyo of Kenya and Magnifique Nsanzemariya of Rwanda received Special Jury Mention for their work as directors of SKIN DEEP and KAZI NI KAZI, respectively.
“We give Special Mention to people who despite being minors, not only made their own films but also subjected them to scrutiny at an international film festival. They competed not against amateur but professional adult filmmakers,” the Jury said of Kamunyo, 15 and Nsanzemariya, 13.
In a joint report, the three juries–Short Films, Documentary Films, Fiction Films–of the inaugural MAAFF (March 8-14, 2015) said they had been “guided by the aims and objectives of the East African Film Network (EAFN) that not only seeks to assist in a faster integration process of the East African Community region but to also inject professionalism into the fledgling movie sector of the region.”
“While assessing the work in competition we noted with alarm that the blueprint of films—scripts—in the EAC region are generally wanting,” said the juries that quoted liberally from the three-year plan (2015-2017) of EAFN. “We are equally concerned that the creators of movies in the region are not paying enough attention to the art departmen. We however do not despair as EAFN and its partners, in an attempt to meet its objectives, has already provided training in Short Film Production (FESTICAB, Burundi); Scripting for Film (ZIFF, Tanzania); Acting for Film (Arusha African Film Festival, Tanzania); Documentary Filmmaking (Nile’s Diaspora International Film Festival, Uganda); Cinematography (Lola Kenya Screen, Kenya); and Sound for Film (Mashariki African Film Festival, Rwanda) in its continuing efforts to build capacity in the creative and cultural sector of eastern Africa.”
EAFN, a regional civil society that was established on March 14, 2014 and focuses on integration and development of the five-member EAC region through film, mass media, arts and culture, marked its first anniversary at MAAFF.
The judges said they had evaluated the films in competition according to the skills imparted on participants from those specialised areas of filmmaking offered by EAFN in collaboration with EAC and German Development Cooperation (GIZ).
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The motion pictures sector of the EAC is facing an uphill task in the production of movies in both quality and quantity as the film creators are mainly young talents without much formal training.
“With the digital migration taking centre stage, EAFN and her partners have a role to play in promoting our cultural norms and values through events like Mashariki African Film Festival,” the six jury members said.
The full list of winners:
Best East African Male actor: Pacifique Iradukunda in GASORE, Rwanda
Best East African Female Actor: Veronica Waceke in MY FAITH, Kenya
Best National Short Film: Crossing Lines by Samuel Ishimwe Karemangingo
Special Mention for the Best East African Short Film: MAJAMBERE THE FIGHTER by Evrad Niyomwungeri, Burundi
Best East African Short Film: MY FAITH by Bruce Makau, Kenya
Best East African Documentary Film: THE SPRINGBOARD by Joseph Ndayisenga, Burundi
Best East African Fiction Film: THE ROUTE by Jayant Maru, Uganda
Best Director: Francoise Ellong for W.A.K.A, Cameroun/France
Best Film: VIRGEN MARGARIDA by Licinio Azevedo, Mozambique