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Interview with director & script writer of Rwandan movie Munyurangabo

At the Evening Class blog.

Here is a segment:

" Michael Guillén: I'm sure I'm not the first one to express that it's somewhat startling to have the best African feature at the Toronto International be the work of a Korean-American and a White guy. [Laughter.] How did that come about?

Lee Isaac Chung: Thank you for saying that. It came about originally because my wife had been doing volunteer work in Rwanda for the last three summers. She does art therapy and she wanted me to come with her. We had just been married and it was the first summer after we'd been married. She wanted us to go together and she asked me to volunteer as well to do something. I figured cinema and filmmaking is all that I know that I could teach so I figured we were going to teach it. But as I was looking at the sort of films that were coming out of Rwanda, it seemed a little sad that there was nothing that focused on contemporary Rwanda. Everything just seemed to recreate what went on with the genocide. Also, all the films are very much for Western audiences from the Western perspective using Western actors, they speak English, maybe with an accent or something like that; but, nothing in Kinyarwanda, their local language. So that was the beginning of the project.

I asked Sam if he could write with me for the film and one of the first goals that we set was that we wanted this film to be for the Rwandans; that they would watch it and enjoy the film. We knew that if we did that, it would be a better film even in an international sense—if it was true to them and their audiences."

Read the rest here.

And here's a website for the film.

From the website:

" First feature film in Kinyarwanda

MUNYURANGABO is the first narrative feature film ever made in the Kinyarwanda language. Directing in a foreign country and in a language I do not speak was actually an advantage, forcing me to work as an outsider. This guards against the conveyance of any personal ideas and truths that are relatively minor, allowing instead for an exploration of more universal matters that can connect a Korean American with a Rwandan. I hope that this connection would extend to you, the viewer."

- Sujewa


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