Samuel Ishimwe won the Silver Bear Jury Price (Short Film) with his work „Imfura„. Even though the festival is already over – we won’t hesitate and provide you with an interview of the filmmaker.

Born in Rwanda in 1991, Samuel Ishimwe worked as a journalist and photographer and attended several film workshops. His short films have been screened at various festivals including Durban International Film Festival in South Africa. In June 2017 the filmmaker completed a film degree at the Geneva School of Art and Design (HEAD). With „Imfura“ it is Samuels first time at Berlinale.

‘My mum left me when I was a baby, she never saw a celebration, and she’ll never see one. Oh generation of god.’ In Kinyarwanda „Imfura“ means first-born, the noble one, gentleman. Gisa, a young man, travels to his mother’s village. He never got to know her, since she disappeared in the genocide. Gisa wants to comprehend, to remember, so he meets those who remain. Much has changed. Various chants and rituals guide him in his search. The memory is inside him, the midwife says, has always been with him. He is not alone. He is alone however when he is suddenly forced to choose a position in a fight over an inheritance, a shell of a house. The ruins represent the visible remains of the genocide. The film’s hybrid form, its fusion of documentary and staged material, gives it a great sense of immediacy. Imfura is the first Rwandan production to be included in the competition of Berlinale Shorts. (Maike Mia Höhne)


Still from „Imfura“

What is your ambition in the film?

When I wrote the film I was living for the first time outside my country Rwanda. In the loneliness and quietness of Switzerland I was able to reflect on myself and people close to me in a deeper perspective for the first time. The goal was to express this perspective through the film, in the most dignifying and poetic way possible.

What do you like about the short form?

The great thing about short form is that it challenges the filmmaker to do something different and unique in order to stand out from thousands of other filmmaker making short films. The short form gives the freedom to explore the beauty in simplicity.

What are your future plans?

I’m currently developing a feature film which will share the cast, locations and environment with my short film „Imfura“. I developed a special relationship with the people I made my short film with and I want to create more with them.


Samuel Ishimwe

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