Phiona, a Girl from Madrid
It’s been few days since Phiona came back from Madrid, a metaphorical city where she was alienated from the outside world for three years. After a day-long friendly conversation with her snobbish cousin Yves takes a turn for the judgmental regarding the decisions that made Phiona go to Madrid in the first place, their friendship is put at odds.
In this film, I want to portray a character who is facing the consequences of the old traditions and religious radicalism of a patriarchal society that doesn’t want to evolve. In the old days, when a girl got pregnant out of wedlock, she would be drowned in an honour-killing ritual, a punishment for disgracing the society. In contemporary Rwanda, many young women face almost the same punishment when their families, as well as society at large, reject them because they are seen as disgraceful. Many turn to abortion to protect their futures but the unlucky ones who get caught are thrown into prison. To me, there is no difference. With minimalist settings inspired by stage plays, in this film the protagonist questions the morals of a society that rejects one of its own and, most importantly, its future mothers.
Mutiganda wa Nkunda is a self-taught Rwandan filmmaker and former film journalist. Working in film and television, his work has included writing the hit television series Seburikoko and directing City Maid. His short films have been screened at various international film festivals and, in 2021, his debut feature-length film Nameless had its premiere at the Fribourg International Film Festival and was selected for the main competition at FESPACO. He produced A Taste of Our Land, which won the Best First Narrative Feature Film award at the Pan-African Film Festival in 2020 and was nominated in two categories at the African Movie Academy Awards in 2021, where it took the prize for Best First Feature Film.
After Graduating from HEC Paris, Franco-Tunisian producer Nadim Cheikhrouha worked for several film companies, including TF1 Film Production, TPS Cinema and Mandarin Films. He became an associate producer at Screen Runner and Jade Productions, where he produced short, documentary and fiction films. Cheikhrouha then founded Tanit Films, where he helped bring to life some of the most acclaimed and significant films to come out of the Arab and African world in recent years, including Hedi, Best First Feature at Berlinale in 2015, Fatima, César for Best Film in 2016, Beauty and the Dogs, selected for the Un Certain Regard section of the Festival de Cannes in 2016, Nameless, which played at FESPACO in 2021, and Kaouther Ben Hania’s Academy Award-nominated film The Man Who Sold His Skin (2020).
June 2021, Kigali, Rwanda
First rough cut
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