Rwanda Cinema Centre

Empowering the youth through film

In the States/ Progress for RCC/ Iseta film for Sundance 2009 October 19, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — rwandacinemacenter @ 8:24 pm

ISETA: The Road Block

A film by

Juan Rein


Eric Kabera


During April 1994, on quiet road in Kigali a group of neighbors in Rwanda were filmed.  This was the opening days of the Rwandan Genocide, and even though almost one million people were slaughtered, remarkably there is only one known segment of footage showing any actual killing.

This movie is about the extraordinary journey of that evidence as the original photographer returns to Rwanda, revisiting the people and events that he by chance caught on film.  As the footage returns to the community, friends and family relive the tragic events as they work with the photographer to identify the victims, and then eventually the killers.


The film discovers a witnesses, a school master who survived because his ethnicity was written wrongly on his ID card as he stood with the killers at the roadblock, helpless; the mother of a victim hiding in the house, just
feet away, waiting endless minutes to be told her daughter is finally dead; the brother beaten senseless and lying in the ditch told kindly by his
friend, “let me beat you, but I will not kill you” while his sister dies beside
him; the looter who removed the doors from the victims houses as they were left
to die – and most remarkably, the wife of the killer, who secretly carried two babies through the front line to save them before returning to her murderous husband.

Finally the search for the killers leads to the local court where on the last day a new arrest brings in the laughing militia leader and killer, caught on camera beating his neighbors to death.





Eric Kabera



Rwanda Women Celebrating Achievements-2007

Rwanda Renaissance -2006

Rwanda Re-united :A video focusing on the reconstruction and building of Rwanda /1998-99

Producer,100 DAYS movie : A feature film recounting days ensuing the start of Genocide on Rwanda/ 1999

Producer, Changing Times in Challenging Times. (Avega)\ 1997

Producer /Director, Kist at a Glance: A documentary highlighting the introduction of ICT in Rwanda through Kist/ 2000

Producer, KIST Towards a Brighter Future: A documentary highlighting the progress of Kist in the last 5 years since its commencement/ 2003

Producer, Ramp Historia :A Swedish TV youth Program that reflects on history through the eyes of the youth. /2003

Field Producer, Keepers of Memory, a documentary commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Genocide in Rwanda. /2004

Producer / Director, Through my Eyes,

in collaboration with the Rwanda Cinema Centre (RCC): A documentary film on Rwandan youth reflecting on their past, present and future perspectives./2004



Vivid Features

co producer

Nick Hughes

Director of photography



Nick Hughes (b. 1961, London) graduated in electrical engineering from Bristol University, but beginning in 1989 worked as a cameraman in Africa (mainly for the BBC). He captured events in Ethiopia, Somalia, Congo, and Afghanistan and, of course, in Rwanda. In this way he participated in the making of fifty documentaries, but was also openly involved in various operations connected with African armed conflicts.

As a director he made the television drama Ndoto ya Daudi (1993), the documentaries Provence (1995), and Big Fish, Small Fry (1996) and the feature 100 Days (2001).

He has also shot commercials (Colgate, Mercedes, Tetra Pak, and Raid). He lives in Africa and owns Vivid Features Ltd. (with headquarters in Kenya and Nigeria), a production company that cooperates with CNN.


Nick Hughes was cameraman for over ten documentaries covering different aspects of the Genocide including: – Witness: ‘The Betrayal’. Channel Four UK – Panorama:’ The Bloody Tricolour’.BBC UK – News night: ‘Women who kill’. BBC UK; Director/Producer/Writer of the Feature Film, 100 DAYS. The first feature film about the Genocide of Rwanda. Shot in Rwanda, with Rwandan actors, producers, at actual sites of the Genocide in Kibuye, Rwanda.


Nick Hughes has been news cameraman during:-Genocide April, 1994 -Pacification 1995 -Camp clearance,Goma,Congo, 1997  -Congo war 1998- Channel Four Documentary Key Interviewee ‘The Hunger Business’. Aired UK 2000


Mr. Hughes General Professional Experience includes work as a Director on:IUCN – ‘Big Fish, Small Fry’. Documentary 1996 European Union – ‘Ndoto ya Daudi’. Drama 1993 – Minerva Vision – ‘Commission du film du var, Provence’, France


He has been cameraman on over 100 Documentaries and features for International Broadcasters:BBC,Channel Four Dispatches,BBC Panorama


Nick Hughes corporate experience includes:

Managing Director & Owner of Vivid Features Ltd., Nairobi, Kenya. Vivid Features is the foremost Facilities Company in East Africa and is privileged to manage, staff and equip the CNN bureau for East, Central and West Africa.  He was also Director of Minerva Vision, UK





Director’s statement:


“…the genocide is revisited through this picture with our crew embarking on  journey where they trace the relations to the victims in this picture.  The cameraman revisits and finds people he never knew, preserved only in this work, revealing the compelling and dramatic story of the death of someone’s daughter, someone’s father, and someone’s mother’s.


Nick Hughes who recorded the atrocious last moments of their life, reveals to the families for the first time the perpetrators – neighbors of theirs, people they knew too well.


The event startles memories and wrath as the survivors relive how people died on spots only marked by their vivid recollection and memory.

 As these families come together for the very first time to witness how their loved one’s died, memories emerge from the evident color of their clothing, small clues such as shoes and the people’s height, and from the crude implements used with astonishing speed and spirit to exterminate.”


One Response to “In the States/ Progress for RCC/ Iseta film for Sundance 2009”


    By Juan Reina

    Ever since I met Nick Hughes in London, spring 2007, I felt the story of the Rwandan Genocide must be brought on the screen but from a fresh angle differing from other films from the same subject. Nicks experiences during the Genocide were exceptionally unique and he was also an extraordinary character so I felt I have an amazing opportunity in my hands. I went to Africa, a bit blue eyed, without really knowing neither the history nor the culture.

    In Nairobi, Kenya, I met a producer/co-director Eric Kabera. We discussed about the content and the style of the story. The initial plan was to make a documentary about the making of 100 Days, which Nick directed after the Genocide, but connecting the real events what Nick experienced with the ones during the making of. There was one particular event that affected Nick’s life greatly; during the first days of the Genocide he managed to film the only footage about actual killings, which has been shown all over the world. This infamous footage became the icon-image of the Rwandan Genocide. After 13 years Nick decided to return to that particular place, the roadblock, therefore me and Eric started to follow him.

    There we found a lot of key witnesses and the victims’ family members. Additionally, we also found two kids who survived but whose family was killed there. We followed Nick to the places he survived him opening up about his horrible experiences for the first time in his life. After going back to Nairobi we realized we have two films in our hands; the making of and the roadblock. With Eric, we had a strong feeling that the story of the roadblock is completely different from any other film about the Genocide so we decided to follow it.

    In order to complete the story, making it coherent, we had to return to Rwanda. After an intensive filming and finding the rest of the key people involved in the killing the story started to have the right shape. However the story missed a strong closure therefore weakening it. We needed to find a link between all the characters and the roadblock in a particular sequence. There was still the main killer waiting to be convicted but the local authorities didn’t have enough evidence against him. We strongly believed if we manage to gather all the people involved in the roadblock on that sad day of the massacre we would have a climax for the film but also helping the locals to have their justice. We arranged a local court hearing where we gathered all the witnesses, victims’ relatives and the perpetrators.

    As expected the hearing turned out to be very intensive and emotional. It was a surreal moment of being part in brining justice to the people who’ve been waiting for it more than a decade. This hearing culminated what the film is about: reconciliation, justice and how people cope with their horrible memories of this massacre.

    The experiences we gained from making Iseta- Behind the Roadblock are priceless. I’ve never seen such a beautiful place with amazingly kind people. It is particularly emotional place with full of faith. I hope our film conveys this feeling and simultaneously being an example that films can play a major part in the history of making. In every single street corner or in the valleys of Rwanda there are people who experienced the same thing as the ones in this film. Therefore through this documentary we display the event that affected the whole country. There are a lot of thing we should learn from the Rwandan Genocide but sadly the near history has shown us the opposite. If we had the hope Rwanda has today the world would be a better place.

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