Rwandan writer, director, and producer Yuhi Amuli talks about his approach to film-making and the future of the art for him and his country.
How would you define your cinematic style?
I am still on the journey to discover and understand my own cinematic style. Currently they change according to the theme, the story and the world it is set in. But generally, my films are slow paced, with slow image sequences, editing and sound design.
How did you get started in film-making and what drove into it?
I always had the urge to tell stories since I was a young boy and had already tried to write some short stories and plays for my colleagues. I started out in Cinema after I had a chance to attend Maisha Film Lab in 2014, a screenwriting workshop that made me decide to quit my law school and pursue a career as a filmmaker. A year later after attending several screenwriting and directing workshops around the globe, I made my first short film ISHABA.
Did you have any other career in mind besides film-making?
Yes. Growing up in a strictly catholic family, I joined the junior seminary at 12. That time, I thought I had already found what I will do with my life; being a priest.
Halfway through the seminary, I was kicked out, found myself in a science school and started thinking of becoming a doctor. A few years later I shifted to a law school and contemplated a career as a lawyer. None of them was as deeply rooted in me as was the urge to dedicate my life to telling African stories I was seeing around me.
Your first film, what inspired it?
ISHABA, my first short film about Innocence and the beauty of ignorance was mainly inspired by my profound nostalgia for my days growing up.
What do you think about the current state of film-making in Rwanda?
It is gratifying to see this wave of young Rwandan filmmakers telling their stories against all odds and I am proud to be one of them. I hope they keep their momentum and I hope that one day Rwanda’s decision makers will understand how important cinema and art in general is to the development of the country and start giving these artist the support and recognition they deserve.
Where do you see your career in the next 5 years?
In five years to come, I hope to have completed two internationally distributed feature films.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am developing and working with producers to raise funds for my directorial debut feature film YOHANI, a film about the sino-african relations.
What’s your advice for young and upcoming Rwandan filmmakers?
Preserve your artistic identity. Get inspired but don’t be influenced.
Anything else you would like to share with us?
Yuhi Amuli is an atheist.