Filmmaking workshop kicks off in earnest!

It was not until 1st February, 2010, that the publicities for the sponsored filmmaking workshop went full throttle. A couple of well designed A1 and A2 posters hit the streets and various public places with one theme: calling for prospective applicants to submit applications. This was later to be followed by hundreds of equally well designed brochures and leaflets. TV and Radio publicities were later to follow not forgetting this web’s blog- rwandafilminstitute.wordpress.com.  On the blog, participants engaged RFI Team with various questions that begged instant answers. In retrospect, RFI Team came in handy providing answers to even the teething queries.

The organizers worked around the clock trying to make the event a memorable one. This year round, applicants had the luxury of sending their applications electronically at the comfort of their homes. All applications were to be addressed to the institute’s email address: rwandafilminstitute@gmail.com. Something was certain; every new day was getting busier than the previous one. As usual, last minute applicants worked even harder to meet the deadline. By the close of applications, a record 145 scripts had been downloaded at the institute’s office.

Selection panel had their work already cut out for them. Applicants had to undergo further screenings to authenticate the ownership of the movie idea. They had a difficult time trying to axe the 40 provisional applicants list to the recommended 20, They were only to be guided by ‘An original captivating idea’. As usual some succeeded but to others, luck was not on their side.

On the morning of 15th of February, 2010 the official compiled full list of participants was out. Rwanda Film Institute management decided to invite all applicants to the centre. It was a great chance for the unsuccessful candidates to touch base with RFI administration. To crown it all, the selection enjoyed a clean bill of health on transparency front.

Considering the short notice of invitation, the turn up was really encouraging. It was also a great chance for the Rwanda Film Institute to spell out it’s policies to the prospective filmmaking students. Applicants engaged the RFI Team with more queries about the forth coming Diploma and Degree courses in filmmaking at the Rwanda Film Institute. The responses was comforting.

The climax of the day was the announcement of the 20 successful participants. The list succeeded in addressing the much talked about gender balance at 50:50 ratio. As usual some rejoiced while others left hoping for another chance. RFI Team later supplied application forms to prospective students. A tour to the new RFI Complex site, currently on it’s final phase of construction, was hurriedly arranged. The building helped a great deal to instill the much needed hopes for a fully fledged film school in Kigali. Surely, the day was not wasted after all.


The much awaited day, 17th February, 2010, was finally born. Participants and Mentors had to put up with the morning drizzles to get to their classrooms on time. Everybody was exited on what lay ahead. They were eager to meet the much talked about; acclaimed Swedish film mentors’. At exactly 9.30am on the dot; all participants had already booked their seats waiting for the official introductions. The RFI Director was at it and without much ado; he declared the workshop officially open!

Before the lessons could kickoff, every participant was busy admiring the brand new gadgets in the room courtesy of SIDA-Kigali office! Thanks a heap to this charismatic organization! Everybody was looking forward for a great moment shooting on the latest P2 Panasonic camera. This succeeded to put in perspective how privileged we are as a generation living in this golden age. The presence of brand new G5 Editing machines promised a stress free editing! We could hardly wait to lay our young hands on these latest equipments.

The day’s lesson focused on story line. The mentors tried to put more emphasizes on the requirements of a good story: a beginning, middle and end. This was further broken down to ‘Introduction’ Conflict and solution.

The participants had a light moment watching the famous Charlie Chaplin movie. They saw a captivating story of factory workers who even after working for 10 hours a day, benefits remained an elusive dream. The movie uses images hugely to drive message home. During discussions after the movie, the mentors pointed out that, the audience liked the main character because he was human. We like human character in a movie.

The participants were later treated to another great movie ‘Slum dog Millionaire’ The movie was captivating and made the viewer feel into the movie. The movie evoked so many feelings in the minds of the audience. One thing was clear, by watching a part of this movie; one did not require to know what happen after or before the part to understand it. It was clear in the movie that the big brother was more interested with money than his brother.

One of the mentors assured the participants that they should always feel free to ask questions because ‘there is NO stupid questions’

The mentors emphasized the importance of a punch line in a story. This was explained further as one way to wrap a story. They explained that, punch line could either be comical or tragical.  It was noted that after a punch line, everything in the movie becomes clear and that, just incase you are discussing something painful, trick it! Never show obvious things to avoid the story being boring. For example showing someone walking up the stairs…

NB: Mentor cautioned the participants that, ‘it is easy to be boring, don’t’ The issue of being cooperative in the set was highlighted in one sentence- Producers want people who move them forward and hate the one slowing them down’. Before we could realize, it was 4 pm and we call it a day!

To be continued…

The writer is Administrative assistant Rwanda Film institute



3 Responses to “Filmmaking workshop kicks off in earnest!”

  1. 1 Ingabire
    March 2, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Hi guys, i was not fortunate to book a slot in the workshop. I now understand how competitive it was. I have to admit that this article makes me feel as i was in the movie. What i can say is keep this articles coming. Thanks a lot guys..

  2. 2 RFI Team
    March 2, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Thanks Ingabire. We appreciate your candid comments. We would like to let you know that we have a paid three months course starting in Mid April through mid June. You are welcome to apply!

  3. March 11, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    we really like this instutie
    but we steel have a problem cause sometime we have talent but no ability of pocket
    i mean money for studies about film writing and so more

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