Rwanda sets up film commission

Country hopes incentives will lure co-productions

The Rwandan government has set up an independent film commission to bring structure to the country’s growing film industry.

Minister of sports and culture Joseph Habineza said the commission would help lure foreign co-productions to the central African nation, and would be a boost to the local industry.

“We will be facilitating people who want to make films in Rwanda, and we will be promoting Rwandans who want to make films,” he said.

The government, he said, had reached out to the India Film Commission for help in establishing its mandate. It was also looking to strengthen ties with the Tribeca Film Festival, which has already helped to shine a spotlight on young Rwandan filmmakers.

“Any partner who’s willing to help is welcome,” he said.

Habineza said that “training and capacity building” were central to the film body’s mission, noting that many young helmers in Rwanda still lacked basic training in film techniques.

He also said the commission would facilitate co-productions by offering tax exemptions and other incentives.

The announcement comes on the heels of the Toronto fest preem of helmer Debs Gardner-Paterson’s “Africa United,” a road movie about two youngsters who travel across Africa to the World Cup soccer tournament in Johannesburg.

The U.K./South Africa/Rwanda co-production is Rwanda’s first foray into the co-production market.

The success of Pathe’s “United,” which preems in the U.K. this month, could be a giant leap forward for Rwandan film.

Habineza said he expected “United” to boost foreign interest in the country.

Rwandan producer Eric Kabera, who is in London to promote “United,” said the film commission would be a “strong stepping stone for the growing film industry and for filmmakers.”

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