Last week Wednesday, Laurianne and I attended a screening of five short films from Burundi. Burundi, as many people know, is my wife's native country. These films were produced by the Burundi Film Center, an organization founded by Canadian filmmakers (despite the Americanized spelling of "center"). The Burundi Film Center taught students the basics of film-making and production. Every student wrote a script from which five scripts were chosen. Five teams produced five ten-minute films with each movie having a budget of one hundred dollars American. Each team had one day to film and one day to edit their movie. The result was, for the most part, some very fine work. It was actually quite impressive that movies of this caliber were produced by first-time film students in such a short time. The best film, in my opinion, was the story of a young boy named Kimvuvu (basket-boy) who wonders where his strange name originated.
Some people might wonder about supporting a film centre in a country facing many economic and political challenges. While it might seem superfluous to some, I feel that film is a valuable art form that enriches and inspires. While film might not solve ethnic tensions or feed the hungry, it is a medium which has the potential to challenge cultural mores, entertain, educate and foster hope. While I personally lack the funds to make a difference for this organization, I do hope that the Burundi Film Center continues to blossom and grow in the years to come.
After the films we were entertained by some traditional Burundian drumming which is simply amazing. Here are two clips of Burundian drumming: