Making Video in Post-Genocide Rwanda

NYAMATA, Rwanda, 29 July 2014 — Chantal was the interpreter working for a colleague and I who visited Rwanda in 1996. We were on assignment for “ABC’s Nightline With Ted Koppel,” doing a report on Rwandan women who had been raped during the 100-day killing spree that has come to be know as the “Rwandan Genocide.” I’ve returned to visit some of the friends I made during that first trip, Chantal among them. I’m making a film about my return to Rwanda after 18 years. Chantal is one of the characters in the film.

Some of the 800,000 victims of Rwanda’s 1994 Genocide are buried in a memorial here, in this town about an hour’s drive south of Kigali. I first visited this site, with Chantal, in 1996. I filmed some of the dead.

In this picture, Chantal tries to explain to her 9-year-old son Peter what happened here in 1994, why the remains of so many Rwandans are enshrined in this memorial, why all these people were killed.

It was a tough conversation.

(Photo by Bill Gentile)