The 38 year-old is technical coordinator of the "Rwanda Media Project". Rutabingwa firmly believes in the power of cinema - and is convinced that the media and film industry can contribute to rebuilding his country.
The "Rwanda Media Project" (RMP) was initiated by film director Volker Schlöndorff. It's a joint initiative of DW Akademie, the European Film Center Babelsberg and the Kwetu Film Institute, and is funded by Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The two-year training program in media design gets underway in spring 2014. The focus to date has been on technical equipment: cameras and tripods, editing computers and lights. In Berlin, Jacques Rutabingwa and DW Akademie's Peter Brückner checked and inventoried the complete set before shipping it to Rwanda.
Jacques Rutabingwa studied communications and public relations at the University of Rwanda. As a student he began working as a photographer and cameraman and produced his own films. Before becoming technical coordinator of the "Rwanda Media Project", he worked on various film productions.
What were you able to gain from your two-week stay in Berlin?
Jacques Rutabingwa: I came here to learn - primarily about the equipment and the way it's used. It's great to be in a large media organization like Deutsche Welle, to see how things work here. The equipment we received for the program and our workshops is very good. I’m particularly excited about the large C300 camera and looking forward to using it with our students.
What will be your role in the "Rwanda Media Project"?
I'll be primarily be working closely with the students and sharing my experience and skills. When it comes to practising film production, I'll guide the students through various steps, like planning and preparation, production and post-production. I've worked on many sets over the past fifteen years, but for the students this will all be new. It's important that I'll be able to share my experience with them - not just in terms of the technical aspects, but also in terms of artistic approaches.
How important would you say the Rwandan film industry is?
I wouldn't call it a film industry, but rather a film culture. When you talk about a film industry, "industry" sounds very big. But the Rwandan film culture, like the country itself, is still quite young. We're trying to build the country and develop Rwandan films as well, and we're heading in the right direction. Many people are now getting involved and the political climate is a good one for cinema.
What can the "Rwanda Media Project" contribute?
This is a special project because although we've had short-term workshops, we've not had an in-depth, two-year program. This is an important step for us and a new approach. I think the project will help us move the country forward and give young Rwandans hope. Film is a great way to reach people and a very authentic way of communicating.