Kigali: Maisha Film Lab concludes with the $5000 Production Grant winner announced

Author: Tony Karera
On:29/07/2016 10:52
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After 8 days of intensive writing, rewriting and rewriting... the 6th Maisha Film Lab Rwandan chapter which was taking place at Rwanda Arts Initiative closed this Thursday, July 28 with the first time filmmaker, an architect and amateur comic book writer winning the $5000 production grant funded by Stitching DOEN.

“The world you step in is challenging, and it will always not be easy… go out, be like a butterfly.” ~Ekwa Msangi

Under the mentorship of 3 mentors – Joel Karekezi (Rwanda), Cajetan Boy (Kenya) and Ekwa Msangi (Tanzania) – 15 participants learned the screenwriting craft while fining their short scripts throughout the process.

“The rule is simple, learning filmmaking is through making films.” ~Cajetan Boy

The 26-year old Jimmy Gasana, an architect and amateur comic book writer, whose short psychological drama script about a schizophrenic boy who is trying to come out of mind he can’t escape “Quiescent” emerged the best among 15 and won the production Grant.

Maisha Film Lab

[L-R] Cajetan Boy, Fibby Kioria, Jimmy Gasana (production grant winner), Ekwa Msangi, and Joel Karekezi

“Maisha Film Lab is the medium that I wanted to use to get to my final goal, which is becoming a film director…() this lab was my first professional filmmaking workshop that I have attended so far and winning this production grant is quiet a hinge to my career I envisioned since long time.” Jimmy Gasana told Inyarwanda.

“Always create friends, and keep really updating yourself.” ~Joel Karekezi

The ‘Matrix’ directors (The Wachowskis) influenced filmmaker, Jimmy Gasana will be funded to produce his short film which will be added to the record of Maisha Film Lab’s produced short films. As Fibby Kioria, the program director says, it will be ready in 3 months ahead of the lab.

Mentors’ Tips:

At the fade of the workshop, each mentor took a time to offer these young filmmakers a lively tip that will help these future flag careers of Rwandan film industry along their long journey.

Ekwa Msangi, a Tanzanian born, Kenyan raised, New York based Tanzanian-American filmmaker who mentored in the lab, narrated the participants the tale of the butterfly metamorphosis.

“The world you step in is challenging, and it will always not be easy. There is an example that someone used to me: the life cycle of a butterfly. The process starts with the caterpillar trying to get out of the cocoon, and it grows into a butterfly. The process of coming out of the cocoon is never easy for it but you can’t help it come out. It squeezes itself into the cocoon and eventually comes out. This makes it strong to live the life outside and grow into a butterfly which will fly. When you help it, and break the cocoon for it, it will not survive the world, because the process of breaking it by itself makes it strong, and that strength helps it to survive. So, that the same as you, the struggle is what keeps you strong. So, go out, be like a butterfly and survive through all the challenges and emerge as strong filmmakers.”  ~Ekwa Msangi.

“This journey you are in is not an easy journey. Every day you will try to step, you will see that things are getting harder and harder. But, all who are here make sure that all these people become your friends and make this journey together. Always create friends, and keep really updating yourself.” ~Joel Karekezi.

 “You have to make a point to make these movies. Use what’s there for you and make these movies. Have a good script, and have collaboration with people because film is collaborative. If you wait for the right amount of money, the right location…maybe your film will never get made. The rule is simple, learning filmmaking is through making films.” ~Cajetan Boy.

Maisha Film Lab - Rwandan Screenwriting Class 2016 group photo

For 6 years training emerging filmmakers in Rwanda, Mira Nair’s Maisha Film Lab initiative has already launched a number of filmmakers' careers  of whom some have gone to launch their international careers. Fibby Kioria, the Program Director who was present the whole lab following up the daily activities told Inyarwanda that these 6 years has been a success for the organization; and for the country absolutely.


Tony Karera


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