Thursday, September 30, 2010

In the UK with George Lucas


Pierre Kayitana at Tribeca Film Festival.

Rwandan filmmaker and Rwanda Cinema Centre’s Director, Pierre L. Kayitana has been invited to the United Kingdom, to attend the inaugural event for Films without Borders.

Kayitana who was invited by The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award International Association, will be attending the event scheduled to take place from Sunday April 22 to Friday 30.

The organizers of the The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award are working together with Films without Borders to set up an organisation that encourages and supports film making by young people in three countries, including Rwanda.

As a leading young filmmaker in Rwanda, Kayitana was also selected as an Ambassador of Film to attend the inaugural event, in an evening with George Lucas, a prominent Filmmaker on Wednesday April 28, at Buckingham Palace.

The HRH, The Earl of Wessex will also be present.
The evening will be preceded by two days of preparations, and various filmmakers will have an opportunity to film an interview with Mr. Lucas about his life in filmmaking.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pierre Kayitana : talented with a vision


23-year-old Pierre Kayitana has earned himself a name in the international movie industry as the director of Rwanda Cinema Centre.

The Rwanda Cinema Centre (RCC), which is situated in Gacuriro was founded by another renowned local cinematographer, Eric Kabera.

Kayitana, has, under his tutelage, seen the steady grow of the Rwanda Film Festival. It has become recognized as one of Africa’s most unique venues for filmmakers to showcase their work.

TNT: When did you join the Rwanda Film industry?

PK: I joined in 2005. This was after I had participated in the first Rwanda Cinema Centre training. We were trained on documentary filmmaking.

TNT: What was your first documentary?

PK: It’s called “Behind These Walls”. It’s a short documentary about Rwanda’s educational system, its challenges and the progress.

The documentary was premiered at the first Rwandan “Mini Film Festival”-an event I volunteered for

TNT: How can you describe the trajectory of your careers so far?

PK: I have developed a strong passion for filmmaking, and gotten the chance to work with both local and international filmmakers.
In 2006, I starred in the film “Shake Hands with the Devil”, a film adaptation of the Romeo Dallaire autobiography of the same name.

These opportunities have generated more work for me as a production manager and film maker.

TNT: What are some of your responsibilities as the director of the Rwanda Cinema Centre?

PK: My responsibilities include making sure that we secure the films and venues, establish the programme, develop publicity material, script the events, and recruit volunteers.

I also have to put together project proposal for partnership, create narratives for the events, build the budget and update the festival website.

I have also been involved in more projects and provided services to renowned organizations, like CNN, Al Jazeera English, PBS, and singer Alicia Keys’ initiative “Keep A Child Alive”.

In the year 2008, I coordinated “Pangea Day”, a global event which had Kigali as one of the only 5 cities selected around the world, to host a celebration of films and humanity.

TNT: What is your connection with Tribeca Film Festival?

PK: Two years ago, at the renowned Tribeca Film Festival, I was invited to be one of the ‘Three Voices”, a focus on Rwanda programme.

We participated in the Film Fellows Programme with a special screening and talkbacks, speaking about our works. On the evening that was called ‘Rwanda’s Turn’, President Paul Kagame, spoke about the similarities of the Tribeca Film Festival and Rwanda Film industry.

TNT: Did your experience to the Tribeca Film Festival inspire you?

PK: Yes. I was morally boosted and gained major filming skills. I’m now trying to apply the skills to develop Rwanda’s music industry.

With the growth of the Internet and electronic media across the world, it is becoming increasingly common for businesses to incorporate multimedia elements into their operations.

My experience at Tribeca has been significant, and I’m currently working as an internee at Tribeca, in the youth session, where I’m trained by a team of professionals in film and Media, like Brian Newman-CEO of Tribeca Film Instute, Ellen Newman-TFI deputy director and famous film producers like, Ms.Jane Rosenthal, Mr. Craig Hatkoff and Mr. Robert de Niro.

TNT: What is your vision for Rwanda’s film industry?
The Rwanda film industry, like any other industry in Rwanda has potential. The reason is none other than the will of Rwandans to succeed.

The Rwandan government is supporting efforts that first involve the entire population and the youth in particular.

We cannot forget the huge support and encouragement that Rwanda and our film industry gets from many friends of Rwanda around the world. Again this proves that no help will come until you show interest in something.

Rwanda’s film industry started with our own initiatives and now the world has noticed us. The other major facet of our success is making sure that we excel and add value to everything we do, including films.

We have most of the necessary incentives in a country to succeed such as zero tolerance on corruption, good ICT service, good governance, good scenery that is envied worldwide.

However we have a lot of work to do in building good infrastructure and provide more training for our filmmakers, cameramen, electricians, set designers, writers and more.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Rwanda's Pierre Kayitana at Tribeca Film Festival


The Tribeca Film Festival, in New York City is one of the world’s biggest film entities and Rwanda’s very own Pierre Kayitana, is representing the Rwanda Film Festival.

Twenty three years old, Kayitana is working in the Youth Section of the Tribeca Film Institute. Together with a team of professionals in film and Media, he organises the youth screenings and programmes of the festival.

Under the mentorship of Tribeca’s very best like Brian Newman-CEO, Ellen Newman- Deputy Director, and co-founders and producers like Jane Rosenthal, Craig Hatkoff and Robert DeNiro, Kayitana is on a sure path to success.

Two years ago in 2007, Kayitana for the first time was honoured to be part of the Rwandan team that participated at this film festival.

Kayitana along with Gilbert Ndahayo a Hollywood filmmaker and Thierry Dushimirimana, a professional photographer all participated in the Film Fellows program-‘Three Voices’, a program that focused on Rwanda’s filmmakers.

Things got better for this team of young filmmakers when on the evening of the festivals’ ‘Rwanda Day’, President Paul Kagame presented a speech with a message of how Rwanda is healing itself through artistic expression, the good will of its people and the help of their government.

Along with other world leaders and film gurus like Bill Clinton and co-founder of Tribeca, Jane Rosenthal, the similarities between the Tribeca Film Festival and Rwanda film industry founded by Eric Kabera were emphasised.

The two were founded after tragedies where for Tribeca, it was the ‘September 11’ bombings of the World Trade Center while for Rwanda film industry it was the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

According to Kayitana, “The experience acquired from this tour, gave me the moral support and boost to aim even higher as I continue to better myself but also pass on the knowledge of film to my fellow Rwandans.”

Born in March 1986 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, (then Zaire), Kayitana was raised in a family of ‘technical minds’.

Growing up in a family that exposed him to the possibilities of ICT and business, he pursued his studies at Lycee de Kigali before joining Kigali Institute of Science and Technology.

In late 2005, Kayitana was one of the pioneers of the first Rwanda Cinema training centre. Here, they were trained on documentary filmmaking.

After this, his first film, ‘Behind these walls’ -a short story about Rwanda’s educational system, its progress and challenges was made.

Since then his strong passion for filmmaking developed and soared him to great heights. Working with both local and international filmmakers, doors opened that ushered him into the big world of film.

In the summer of 2006, he was part of the crew that produced the film, “Shake Hands with the Devil”, whose popularity is attributed to Romeo Dallaire’s testimony about the horrific reality of the 1994 Genocide.

As they say, “The rest was history”, opportunities like these generated more work for Kayitana as a production manager and coordinator of film projects.

As he grew in film, his expertise enabled him to work for international channels such as CNN, Aljazeera English, PBS, and Alicia Key’s organisation, ‘Keep A Child Alive.’

Eventually he learnt the ‘ins and outs’ of film business and management. Consequently in 2008, he coordinated ‘Pangea Day’- a global celebration of films and humanity event. Kigali was one of the five cities selected around the world to host ‘Pangea Day.’

Today, Kayitana is the Director of Rwanda Cinema Centre Film Festival. Together with his team, he is responsible for organising the country’s Film Festival. Slated for June 2009, the festival will be a major event.

“It is becoming increasingly common for businesses to incorporate multimedia elements into their operations,” he said, “…and with such growth, there is an exciting range of opportunities available.”

Through this, he wants to bring an innovative approach to the local ICT and film industry, by blending the best of art and technology as a way of maximizing all available possibilities.

All this he says has to be done while also thinking of the new changes in the global market. Through utilizing the conducive film making environment in Rwanda which offers zero tolerance to corruption, is ICT service oriented, has good governance and natural beautiful landscape, better films can be made that can compete in the global market.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Economy meltdown, recession - film and arts

I'ts been over a week since I am in New York City. I might not be affected directly or not seeing it because I am new in the city but also because where I stay, I see many young Europeans flocking into the city, having fun, spending money as if nothing was affecting them. I might also be unaffected because I am not of a materialistic nature except when it comes to my weaknesses with electronic gadgets! However, my daily routine and work, has kept me busy that I do not get time to go around and get tempted.

As a fellow filmmaker, I have been wondering how much the film industry and arts in general, are affected by this economy meltdown. Some say that as in any industry, this situation might encourage more creativity on the part of filmmakers and artists in general.

The other day, I had lunch in New York, with fellow filmmakers who are out of work. The first thing I realized was that everyone is first of all, cutting down or changing the ways they have been doing things for a while. For example one of my friend, told me how he does not come in town anymore unless he really has to do something or meet some people. For New Yorkers, this might be strange because they are used to be moving around and all the time. However, this economy has slowed down people a little bit who knows, it might be for the best.

During a recent meeting with one of the co-founder of Tribeca, Jane Rosenthal, she mentioned that there are still signs of hope and work is still going in the industry. She talked about situations where film studios have been pushing producers to make more films and booking them. At times, they are booked for a date and even before a script is written! She also pointed out the fact that since the recession-people have been looking for more entertainment , so they have been watching more films either in the homes or in thearters.

These cases are proof that the economy did affect the industry but there is still an interest on the market on both sides - producers and consumers.

According to the October 16, 2008 article in New York Times "How will the recession affect film?

"Where the downturn could hurt us, however, as a worldwide industry, is if the capital flow into the expansion of exhibition dries up. If they don’t continue to build cinemas in Russia and Eastern Europe and upgrade multiplexes in India, then that growth of the market, which creates demand and ultimately production, could be in trouble. I think the success of Mamma Mia! was due to the quality of the film-making and the resonance of the story rather than the fact that we’re living in hard times."

When times are bad you want to be out there, and, as long as we continue to offer the films, I’m not worried about the downturn at all."

I was looking at some stories on the economy, filmmaking and arts in general where I stumbled on these articles



Presenting the ACTORS

As I continue my journey through this RWANDACT2, I would like to introduce you to the no particular order:

*Brian NewmanPresident & CEO
*Eileen Newman Deputy Director, Tribeca Film Institute
*Beth Janson Director, Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund
*Tamir MuhammadDirector, Tribeca All Access
*Lisa Lucas Director, Youth Programs
*Martina Klich Film Fellows Coordinator
*Mallory Jacobs Youth Programs Assistant
*Payal Sethi Manager, TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund
*Michael Ackerman TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund Program Assistant
*Jessica Bardsley Tribeca Film Fellows Program Assistant
*Derek Gabryszak Print & Website Publication Manage
*Leah Giblin Artist Programs Associate
*Alison Greenberg Executive Assistant to CEO of TFI
*Jamila Maitland Program Assistant, Tribeca All Access
*Loren PosenTribeca Teachers Program Assistant
*Alisa Powers Assistant to David Earls
*Jeanne Puglisi Industry, Juror, & VIP Coordinator, Tribeca All Access
*Karen Rich VIP Passholder Manager
*Anita Serwacki Reframe Project Manager
*Daniel Su Technology Director
*Nicole Watson Tribeca Teaches Program Coordinator
So now you are wondering what is my role in this BIG PLAY
I work as Intern/Guest from Rwanda Film Festival at the Tribeca Film Institute with offices located 73 Spring Street, New York
I work in the Youth Section of the Tribeca Film Institute.
We organize the youth screenings of the festival as well as the programming.

*Our City My Story
*Tribeca Teachers
*Other events for the community like the Bronx

Well, I have been doing quite a lot

*Attending the meetings Runs of Shows
*Meeting for all access and youth sections
*Taking pictures of events.
*Filming the filmmakers workshops
*Assisting the film fellows during their visits.
*Helping out in organizing the events on venues
and more....

But above all, I feel welcomed here by everyone.
You thought the credits were done rolling?
I did not mention the EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS on this RWANDACT2 - who happened to also be the co-founders of Tribeca Film Festial!

*Ms.Jane Rosenthal
*Mr. Craig Hatkoff
*Mr. Robert DeNiro

Saturday, April 18, 2009



Some of you might remember me from my first trip to Tribeca Film Festival back in April 2007 as a Film Fellow.

Through TFI’s Tribeca Film Fellows program, now in its fifth year, 20 young people exchange ideas, explore the possibilities of cinema and develop their voices through film. During the Festival, budding filmmakers are granted a unique all-access look at the Festival and the film industry through a series of screenings, panels, workshops, creative filmmaking exercises and special events. The Film Fellows program also creates a short group film that depicts all five boroughs of New York City through the eyes of its young filmmakers.

At the end of the 2 weeks visit, Tribeca and Rwanda, hosted a special screening and talkback for our work Three Voices: Focus on Rwanda, Empowering Rwanda's Youth through Filmmaking.

I had such a great experience back in 2007 but now I am back at Tribeca working as an intern with the youth.

This brings me to the name of my blog / RWANDACT2. Well, ACT1 was our first trip and I am excited about this opportunity to be back but also to share with you all, my experiences in the next few weeks I will spend here in New York. I will be posting some of my experiences here, run a video diary but most of all; I look forward to your comments and exchange.

Talk to you and see you soon!

Pierre Kayitana

For more on Tribeca Film Festival and programs