Rwandan filmmaker Philbert Mbabazi, 28, is eying the 92nd Oscars Academy Awards next year, following the recent qualification of his short film I Got my Things and Left, that won the City grand prize at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen 2019 in Germany, one of the biggest film festivals in Europe.
The win makes the film eligible for the Oscars, if it gets selected after official submission.
Produced in Rwanda, I Got my Things and Left had its first public screening in July in Kigali.
Mbabazi is currently attending the prestigious Locarno Filmmakers Academy, (August 7-17) as part of the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland.
I Got my Things and Left features a full Rwanda cast of Eric Ngangare, Rebeccah Mucyo, Cedic Mizero, Shenge Ndimbira and Mbabazi.
The 22-minutes long fiction film reflects on life, death and the afterlife, with a group of youth mourning Eric, a young man, who valued life, people and relations despite not being a Christian. The young people question the existence of the Rurema (the traditional Rwandan creator) and the afterlife.
The film’s title is borrowed from Zimbabwean writer Charles Dambudzo Marechera’s 1979 book entitled House of Hunger, which Mbabazi says resonates with the youth.
The film has so far been selected and featured at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2019; It received a special Jury Mention at the 2018 Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur in Switzerland; It also featured at the 2019 Indie Lisboa International Film Festival in Portugal; It was entered in the official competition category in the 2019 Hamburg International Short Film Festival in Germany and also at the Go Short International Film Festival Nijmegen 2019 in the Netherlands and the 2019 Durban International Film Festival.
Mbabazi will also be taking the film around the world after being selected for upcoming events such as the Belo Horizonte Short Film Festival in Brazil, Festival du Film Africain de Lausanne in Switzerland, the African Film Festival Cologne in Germany, Curto Cirtcuito International Film Festival in Spain and the International Film Festival Message to Man in Russia.
Mbabazi has produced over 10 films since 2011.He joined Haute École d’Art et de Design Geneva in 2015 for a two year course in the cinema department. While there he made The Liberators, a film paying tribute to African heritage through stories.