kwetu film institute

KWETU is the home that brings value to our faces, voices and future film prospects through the dynamic of the creative force.

Rwandan Cinematographer talk of his secrets!

“Upcoming filmmakers should initially relegate money to the back seat and instead learn the skills of trade first” – Christian

Christian GAKOMBE is experienced cinematographer currently working for the Rwanda Cinema Center. He is a common face at many profile events in Kigali. His unique video footage has been used by different international media houses like CNN and Aljazeera. The hillywood press team caught up with him on his return from Chicago where he had gone to cover the annual Rwanda Day celebrations in the USA.
First the team wanted to know if he knew hillywood.

CHRISTIAN: My names are Christian GAKOMBE a.k.a. ‘the Lion’. I believe I am currently the top Rwandan Cinematographer. I joined hillywood in 2005. From my point of view, hillywood is a voice of sharing stories in Rwanda through an inflatable screen that goes deep into the country side to meet some peasants who don’t have access to TV. The best films, in local language are screened free of charge to enthusiastic onlookers.

RFF: I understand that you sums up as a filmmaker, how far have you gone into the filmmaking?
CHRISTIAN: I come from the village and I had a privilege to work in various film productions in Rwanda. I was the location scouting manager for ‘Sometimes in April“, Assistant Director for ‘Ezera‘ by Newton Aduwaki, ‘Operation Traiguoise‘ by Alan Tasma, Assistant Director for ‘The day I walk away’ by Philip Vanleu, I worked in “A new home’‘ a documentary about Congolese refuges, I was a cinematography mentor at the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) Filmmaking Workshop in 2010, Director of Photography for both Rwanda Police and RPF documentaries. Last year I got a huge opportunity not only for making money but also working for the Aljazeera as a cinematographer during the Rwanda’s 2010 Presidential Campaign. This year I got yet another opportunity to work as the director of photography for Agaciro documentary film that was screened at the Rwanda Day celebrations in Chicago where I accompanied his Excellency the President. This was to shoot another documentary film about people in Diaspora who attended the event and harbors solid intentions of coming home. To crown it all, I have also been selected to present Rwanda at the prestigious annual FilmAfrica workshop in the heart of Nairobi this July. While there, I will learn how to use the Red Camera.

RFF: Whowhat inspired you into filmmaking industry?
CHRISTIAN: When I was a small boy, I used to enjoy watching movies. In 2003, an opportunity stroke and I found myself on the film set with a team of professional filmmakers. This was to become my defining moment. It was very fascinating and that experience inspired me to join film industry as a cinematographer. A profession that currently moves in my veins.

RFF: Where do you see yourself in seven years from today?
CHRISTIAN: I have a vision of sharing my camera skills with the rural Africans. I have realized that my rural brothers and sisters have many stories to tell but they don’t know how. I will start with my country where there is need for more cinematographers and then proceed to other neighboring countries. As you know, Rwanda is the heart of Africa and everything begins with the heart. It is against this backdrop that I believe am not only cinematography ambassador for Rwanda but also for the entire continent.

RFF: Tell us how filmmaking can affect your relationship with people both positively and negatively?
CHRISTIAN: Positively, filmmaking exposes you to traveling where you meet many different people and learn much from them. However, there is a problem of being tied up with a given project thereby failing to have enough time with the family and friends. This might led to being branded as antisocial.

RFF: How do you think film can promote sustainable development?

CHRISTIAN: Film is a big business in a new trend of economy known as social entrepreneurship. In addition, film is a powerful marketing tool for a country’s image. One film can led to a country discovery by foreign bodies and this boosts foreign investments leading to sustainable development. Again, filmmakers can accelerate the need for more TV stations and hence creating the much needed jobs.

RFF: What piece of advice do you give to upcoming film makers?
CHRISTIAN: I advice upcoming filmmakers not think about money first when they join film making. They should persevere walking long distances, missing food to learn filmmaking. For this to be possible, they must have a passion in films. They should learn how not to complain and instead of providing problems they should learn how to provide solutions. They shouldn’t be like eagles whose mothers teach how to fly and after learning they forget the bridge that helped them cross the soaring river. They should have discipline and always remember people who opened their gates for filmmaking.

RFF: Wow! What a strong piece of Advice! Thank you for giving us your space and time?
CHRISTIAN: Yeah, that is me. I have learnt from experience and I am still learning. To me, learning stops at death!

RFF:Great Christian. Now we know why people call you Lion.
CHRISTIAN: Thank you. Be film, be me.!


Nike foundation/KFI:Scholarships to Women in Films

Students at KWETU Film Institute

Rwandan based KWETU Film Institute in collaboration with Nike Foundation among other institutions are in solid discussion that will see a group of selected girls access scholarship opportunities in filmmaking. The next academic year commences on September, 2011. The institute is a center of academic excellence for exploring new kinds of communication, cultural expression, and regional civic engagement. Through cinematic education and training, including programs in film, television and mobile, as well as supporting programs in the performing arts, KFI will provide East Africa with a holistic, sustainable and internationally recognized media training facility.

During the next five years, KFI expects to enroll approximately two thousand students who will be exposed to all the important aspects of cinematic media creation. With practitioner instructors, experts in various fields of media, KFI offers professional, hands on media training programs founded upon on solid academic criterion.

The Nike Foundation in 2005 began investing in adolescent girls as powerful agents of change in the developing world. This focus emerged from the company’s desire to support the world’s developing countries, recognizing the benefits that both Nike’s business and consumers derive from emerging economies. Funded by Nike, Inc. the Foundation leverages the brand’s drive for innovation and positive change, and its ability to inspire both. We believe that when girls receive support and realize opportunity for their futures, they can become an unexpected and powerful force in transforming their families, communities and the world.

The aim of the KWETU Film Institute (KFI) is to provide media and film education to people in East Africa and great lakes region with a population exceeding 200 million people. A huge portion of this is comprised of young men and women who are keen and ready to venture into the media trade. The field is offering incredible opportunities to people in the region.

The institute’s mandate is to train and give skills in media, arts and film education to our students. The reason for creating a film school was to ensure that a large number of people get involved in the media and other activities of arts and culture. This scholarship opportunity will ensure an increased number of women venturing in the art of filmmaking.

KFI reputation in training young men and women in filmmaking techniques has been felt across Africa and abroad. Our student films are later shown to thousands of people in different locations of Rwanda using inflatable screens. This has endowed us the famous name ‘HILLYWOOD’ which means Cinema in the hills of Rwanda. We take films to the country side and screen them to excited audiences numbering five to ten thousand. It ends up as a godsend to most people who have limited access to TV, film or any form of entertainment.

KFI students produce feature and short films which are not only shown in East Africa but have also been screened in several high profile film festivals such as Tribeca, Goteborg, Tokyo, Durban, and Fespaco among others. The film school and our activities are supported by the ministry of sports and culture, Sida Rwanda, the Swedish Institute, the Goteborg Film Fund, Cinema Africa Tokyo, Rhenanie palatianate, Art Action to name but just a few.

We look life a little differently than most people. We see moments captured through the lens of a camera and the glow of a spotlight. We watch people in moments of desire, love, pain, sorrow and hope…’ If you want to be part of our team, if you have the heart and determination to put yourself out there and expose your passion

Turn your passion for films into a career

Applications for this scholarship are ongoing and space is extremely limited!
Click HERE to download application form

Email: or call +250785217946 for enquiries

NB: Only selected and deserving students will access scholarships. Application deadline is on 15 August, 2011.

Book early to avoid disappointments.

Free Workshop on Digital Filmmaking in Rwanda!

Rwanda Cinema Centre in collaboration with KWETU Film Institute proudly presents a master class week on Digital Film Making.

The workshop will be held as from 18th July, 2011. It will be conducted by acclaimed a delegation from Academy of motion picture and sciences.

Targeted Participants: Film Students, Young Film Makers

Workshop Basic Qualifications:

  • You must submit a complete application in English, including a sample of work (Story line and Script). Please note that the application is individual – we cannot accept team applications. You must have obtained the consent of the other copyright owners for the use of the work sample submitted.
  • The script should be professionally written (correct format- use of celtx software is advised) and should be approximately 15 minutes long.
  • A registration fee of 20.000Rwf is payable before the commencement of the master class. This payment will register participants to their preffered filmmaking course in the Institute.

How to apply:

Deliver your application to the Rwanda Cinema Centre offices located at Estate 2020 Gaculiro, Araucaria Nord 119.

Or send your application to

Application deadline:

All applications addressed as above must reach us by 15th June, 2011 following which successful candidates will be notified by 10th July, 2011.

Please include your full time telephone contacts.

Basic knowledge in TV and video production will be an added advantage.

The workshop will be conducted in English

Ladies are highly encouraged to apply.

For more detailed enquiries, please visit our offices or call us on;-


Apply now, space is extremely limited!