RECONCILING THE PAST Bringing Rwanda's message home to Canada.
100 Messages of Hope
2009 campaign to commemorate the Rwandan Genocide.
In 2009 working closely with my creative counterpart, Franco Kanimba in Kigali Rwanda, we were invited to pitch a promotional campaign commemorating the 15th year memorial of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. Working with Rwandans to help reconcile their past and somehow find forgiveness and comfort and a way of dealing with trauma on a level that we in Canada ( inspite of our dark past ) can only begin to imagine, is a formidable endeavour both from a production perspective as well as emotionally.
Four versions of the spot were produced along with a series of portarits that were to appear at bus shelters throughout Kigali, all designed to drive traffic to the website. Although the subject is so specific to Rwanda, we were looking for a way to speak out to the whole world and in effect have the world speaking for Rwanda, to establish a point at which anyone could enter the conversation. The speakers shown in the spots were speaking in several languages - English / French / German / Kinyarwanda / Swahili.
We wrote a simple script involving only a few lines: " 100 Messages of Hope " " Hope for the Future " "Watch 100 messages of hope" to drive traffic to the website, where for 100 days ( commemorating the 100 days of the genocide ) a new message of hope from surviors would be posted.
It was ineresting during the editing process to see how well those three simple lines fit together between the speakers even when, in some cases, they were speaking different languages. Franco and I agreed that the underlying effect these spots should have would be to demonstrate how little difference there is between any of us.
Of course, this project being a spec piece, was done completely out of pocket - literally out of my camera and computer bags. But thankfully, many people around us contributed to helping with locations, cast and crew. A special thanks goes out to my friend Eric Kabera who appears at the end of the spot. Eric runs a film school in Kigali and is well known throughout the industry for his dramatic work on the subject of the Rwanda Genocide of 94.