Life in a Day of Kigali


Tinseltown took their shot at tackling the Rwanda Genocide in the highly celebrated film Hotel Rwanda (2004). That portrayal, however, is still contentious among Rwandans. Most people appreciate the attention it brought, but say they resent the way the story was “Hollywood-ized” to create a hero out of a shrewd businessman while sidestepping the actual horrors that occurred. But today, a handful of Rwandan youth got the chance to make their own Hollywood movie.

Life in a Day is a collaborative film project directed by Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) and produced by Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator). Video submissions from around the world will be stitched together to create a portrait of one random day on planet earth – July 24, 2010. Sundance has already agreed to premiere the film, and you can be sure that thousands of filmmakers were salivating over their chance to participate. I definitely was, and communicated as much in some strategic emails to the production company when asking for cameras to bring to Rwanda. Within days, I had three HD capable digital cameras mailed to my home in Ottawa.


In order to provide some structure to the footage, the director asked that everyone do four things – tell him what makes them scared, what makes them laugh, what they love, and show him whatever is in your pockets. Beyond that, the goal was to film whatever was happening in your life that day. That, and fill out a small mountain of paperwork to clear the rights for everything.


I asked six students from my advertising class to participate. The cameras provided 16 minutes of HD footage, so each student had to chose their words and images wisely. The B-roll footage won’t win any awards, but the confessionals should definitely attract attention. Some examples of what made them scared - running out of money, al-Qaeda and homosexuals.


Unfortunately, connection speeds won’t allow me to upload any of the footage to share, but I’ll be mailing out the memory cards a.s.a.p. for consideration. So while the Rwanda Film Festival has now ended, if we’re lucky, next year we might help “Hillywood” live up to its name.

Christopher Redmond