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Thursday, February 21, 2013


(Joel Karekezi (right) accepts his award of 5000 Euros from CFI's Etienne Fiatte (centre) and Namibian Broadcasting Corporation's Audrin Mathe)

Imbabazi: the Pardon, which was one of the officially selected projects in the 2011 Durban FilmMart (DFM), a joint programme of the Durban Film Office (DFO) and the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), recently enjoyed its World Premiere at the Gotebord Film Festival in Sweden and has been snapped up by two other major international film festivals.

Produced and directed by Rwandan film-maker Joel Karekezi, Imbabazi: the Pardon was one of the features that was selected for the 2011 Durban FilmMart, where the film was also awarded the CineMart Rotterdam Lab Award at the DFM, which provided the up and coming producer with accreditation, accommodation and transportation to attend the Lab, an incubator for producers of new projects which ran concurrently with the 2012 International Film Festival of Rotterdam.

Imbabazi: the Pardon had its USA premiere at the San Diego Black Film Festival in January and this month will enjoy its Los Angeles premiere at the prestigious Pan-African Film Festival.

Clearly, Karekezi is a young film-maker to watch. With a diploma in film directing from Cinecours Canada, he has fast garnered accolades, awards and notice for his work. In 2010 his short film The Pardon won the best short film award at Silicon Valley African Film Festival (SVAFF), California. In 2012 he had a second project, The Mercy of the Jungle, in the DFM, which was awarded the Canal France International (CFI) Award for the Most Promising Project with a prize of 5000 Euros.

Imbabazi: the Pardon tells the story of the Tutsi Genocide through the friendship and separation of two protagonists and carries a deep reconciliation message. 

“As an African and Rwandan director, I am proud to have helped bring this story to a wider audience,” explains Karekezi, who is himself a genocide survivor. “I was honoured to work together with my team through pre-production, production and post-production to bring this story to life. I hope that audiences will embrace the message of hope and forgiveness that is at the heart of the film.”

“Over the past three years, we have seen how the Durban FilmMart has provided important stepping blocks for film projects.” says Toni Monty, of the Durban Film Office. “The process of creating film is long and arduous, and it is vital that emerging film-makers and projects are given the creative space to be able to develop their ideas and vision in the right kind of environment. Joel has clearly grasped at all the opportunities presented to him to develop this film. So we are truly pleased to see this, one of our selected projects, make it through to multi-festival festival releases. ”

The 4th edition of Durban FilmMart takes place from July 19 to 22 during the Durban International Film Festival (July 18 to 28). For more information email: or visit