Rwandan Movie Vies For Top Prize at African Film Festival in Morocco

A Rwandan Movie by fast-rising filmmaker Yuhi Amuli has been selected among African movies vying for a prize at the ‘Khouribga African Film Festival’ going on in Khourigba, Morocco.

The film festival, which opened on May 28, and concludes on June 4, celebrates African filmmakers who have produced the best works over the past 12 months.

‘A Taste of Our Land’ tells a story of Yohani, an African old man who, while doing his best to provide for his pregnant wife, retrieves a gold nugget in a brutal Chinese run mine built on his land and runs away to sell it for $100.

When he learns its real value, he becomes as obsessed with it as Cheng, the Chinese mine owner who will stop at nothing to get it back.

Set in an unnamed African country, Yuhi’s film reflects on greed told against the backdrop of the current Chinese influence in African countries, reference to Cheng’s violent and harsh treatment of African mine workers, especially when they attempt to protest.

Indeed, Africa represents for this Chinese company only a large mine to be exploited until exhaustion, via a cheap local workforce.

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The annual film festival, which is in its 22nd edition, has seen 13 feature films and eight documentaries selected to compete and Yuhi’s production ‘A Taste of our Land’, which he made in 2020, is the only Rwandan film targeting the prize.

12 other films are in the running in the official feature film competition, representing Morocco, Tunisia, Chad, Algeria, Egypt, Zambia, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and Namibia.

Chaired by Moroccan film director Saâd Chraïbi, the jury for this year’s edition is composed of five members including Rwanda’s own Kantarama Gahigiri.

Other members of the jury include Moroccan Hammadi Guiroum, Senegal’s Maguèye Kassé and Khaled El Hagar from Egypt.

‘A Taste of Our Land’ had previously premiered in different renowned festivals worldwide including New African Film Festival in 2021, Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, African Diaspora Film festival 2020 and Afrykamera film festival which all happened in 2020.

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It went on to win prizes as Best First Narrative feature film at The Pan African Film Festival 2020 and the AMAA Award for Best first film by a director.

Yuhi, the film director, is an Alumni of Berlinale Talents (2021) and Toronto Filmmaker Lab (2020) which he attended with his second feature film Exodus, currently in development.

His three short films Ishaba (2015), Akarwa (2017) and Kazungu (2018) have been screened and won awards at various film festivals worldwide, including Durban film festival in South Africa, Amiens international film festival in France, Cinémas des Vues d’Afrique in Canada.

They also screened at Luxor African film festival in Egypt, Lausanne film festival in Switzerland and Rwanda Film Festival, where Ishaba and Kazungu won best short film in 2016 and 2019 respectively.

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This year’s Khouribga African Cinema Festival is, according to the festival Foundation, happening under the High Patronage of King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

The event will pay a posthumous tribute to Nour Eddine Saïl, the former president of the festival foundation and to two great figures of African cinema: The Delegate General of the Pan-African Television and Film Festival (Fespaco), Soma Ardiouma, and Moroccan actor and director Mohamed Choubi.

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