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"Never Stop Dreaming, Never!" – An inspiration from the opening of Mashariki African Film Festival 2016

Posted By: Mutiganda wa Nkunda - On:06/03/2016
When we talk about film, or arts in general we cant miss to mention the creation--- the imagination--- the inspiration. But behind all those, there is something. That thing you feel but you cant touch; that thing which pushes you to do everything for something; to create and of course to succeed - that thing is a Dream.

From the opening of Mashariki African Film Festival which opened today in Kigali, Rwanda at Grand Pension Plazza – from the local to the international guests – the place was full of happy people who came for the opening of the festival, but of course many were very curious to watch Timbuktu, the internationally acclaimed film by Abderrahmane Sissako which was to screen in Rwanda for the first time.

Mr. Tresor Senga, the festival president welcoming guests and audience

Kantarama Gahigiri, the Swiss-Rwandan filmmaker was for the second time, after the inaugural edition last year, the Godmother of the festival. In her speech, she shared her personal story which opened the hope and confidence of success of this young film festival.

Kantarama Gahigiri, a Swiss-Rwandan filmmaker who for the second time is the festival's Godmother

 “When I heard that I will speak this speech tonight, I was both happy and concerned.” She said. “I was happy because this was the second edition of this festival. Concerned because, last year when in was here, I visited my family, people talked to me and they cried but most of all they really, really were surprised to have such event taking place here at home, in the heart of Africa. Maybe you can guess it. My concern was the following… what am I going to say this time? And also, what about other future edition? Which you blessed me having back.  Because I truly believe that this festival is going to grow fast, and have many, many, many other editions…. We are living a special time right now. Tonight, I’m going to start from the important of arts, of imagination, but also of diversity and representation. Today, all over the world people are trying to get represented, people are getting together and raising their voices… this is our challenge here to show how it can be done, let’s give artists the voice.” the second time festival’s Godmother added.

Ismael Ntihabose, the Rwanda Film Federation president stressed about building an African Film industry by African-selves. In his pan-Africanistic speech, Ismael said, "This is the time for Africa to develop our own structure. It's time to make cinema an industry which contribute to the country's GDP. This is the time to make good films. It's the time to not cheat the audience again. This will be achieved through many things, but learning... I recommend to you to create an African film market. Hollywood have their market, Bollywood... but what's for Africa? And my dream is that the centre of the African film market will be in Rwanda."

The guest of honor was Hon. Edouard Bamporiki, an actor/filmmaker-cum-politician: a member of parliament of Rwanda. From his very short, artistic speech Mr. Bamporiki revealed his true self to the audience, that he’s an artist. “Film is actions not speech… Art moves the heart… If you zoom too much you miss the point.” He said while officially opening this festival.

But, after all; the most inspiring speech was of the festival’s special guest, Mr Ibrahim Ahmed, the main actor of Timbuktu. I recall this because I am a dreamer. In his shortest, belinguistic speech, Ibrahim Ahmed known as Pino said, “Timbuktu… Je vous souhaite une bonne projection (I wish you a good watching), never stop dreaming. Never!”

Ibrahim Ahmed among the audience

Photo of the screen of Timbuktu, screened at the festival. Click here for more pictures

During the Q&A with the actor after the screening of the audience pleasing film, Pino said that the film has never been screened in Mali, the country which is portrayed in the film because of  the ongoing “Religious Nazism” (as he called it), the theme the film talks about despite its international acclaim.

Mashariki African Film Festival opened tonight this Sunday March 6, 2016 and will run for the whole week until Saturday March 12 under the theme "Cinema Unites africa".

Here is my list of great films to never miss during this whole week, but if you missed Timbuktu, you missed one of them

Check the festival's screening program below

MAAFF 2016

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