Kivu Ruhorahosa: Feisty filming out of East Africa
RFI talks to an up and coming Rwandan film maker about a movie in the making that challenges homophobia and religious bigotry.
If you close your eyes when you speak to Kivu Ruhorahosa, you’d think he’d lived all his life in the UK. But Ruhorahosa is from Kigali.
As a filmmaker he is self-taught, and his film enterprise has taken him far and wide he says, nonetheless having been based in London for about ten years. That’s only one reason why the language of his second feature in development when Ruhorahosa was at the Cannes Film Festival in May, was English. In fact the main protagonist of this project is a gay Kenyan deported from the British capital. When he lands in Nairobi, he comes face-to-face with Christian Evangilist rhetoric. The man faces a challenge.
Kivu Ruhorahosa faces a different challenge and is determined to transfer Jomo, the future film’s title, to big screen, even if it may raise hackles. Actually that’s part of the aim. The film maker is concerned about the influence of religious fervour, and homophobia in Africa. He’s also concerned about the lack of debate about these issues.
“I want to launch the debate between East Africans and East Africans... I know a film can’t change attitudes but it can contribute to the debate. If people see my film and then go on the internet and find out more… A film can do that.”
He used all his savings for his first film, called Grey Matter about a young film maker, who loses his producer at a crucial time. Grey Matter, won the Jury prize at the Khouribga Film Festival in Morocco in July 2012.
A couple of months earlier, Ruhorahosa was working hard on the bane of many filmmakers’ lives - raising production money for Jomo. He’d been invited to the Cannes Film Festival as one of the up and coming film-makers from outside of the European Union by Cinémas du Monde.
By that time, his project was already taking serious shaper: a script, Australian-Netherlands co-production, Kenyan cast (who’ll be speaking in English because “that’s the language in Nairobi”), Australian and Kenyan crew.
“It’s a beautiful film and it’s story that needs to be told. I’m confident, I’ve learned a lot and I think I can manage to pull it off, get it out there to the cinemas around the world.”
If Ruhorahosa’s faith in his project were currency, he’d have enough for his film-to-be.
“I know that I’ll find it [the money] whatever happens. I’m a fighter.”