Former prisoner. He was found guilty of carrying out killings in the village.
Osee regularly has a drink with Jeanne.
Osee was in prison with Alphonsine’s husband.
Esperance’s body still shows heavy scars from machete attacks by Osee.
Genocide survivor. She receives subsidies from the state.
Osee regularly has a drink with Jeanne.
Jeanne lends moral support to Esperance.
Ex-detainee whose land has been confiscated. 
Bonaventure and Alphonsine are both farmers. They have been helping each other.
Bonaventure has been tilling land belonging to Andre.
She miraculously survived the mass killings and has forgiven the perpetrators.
Esperance’s body still shows heavy scars from machete attacks by Osee. 
Andre is a photographer. He has taken shots of Esperance.
Ex-soldier. He was born in Burundi and took part in the civil war.
Andre is a photographer. He has taken shots of Esperance.
Bonaventure has been tilling land belonging to Andre.
Accused of complicity in the mass killings, but has been acquitted by traditional gacaca courts.
Osee was in prison with Alphonsine’s husband.
Bonaventure and Alphonsine are both farmers. They have been helping each other.
Jeanne lends moral support to Esperance.

Author - Director : Giordano Cossu
Producer: Hirya Lab, Paris (www.hiryalab.net)
Co-producer: France Médias Monde, RFI (www.rfi.fr), France 24 (www.france24.com),
La Stampa (www.lastampa.it)
Camera, sound: Giordano Cossu, Vincent Thuet
Editing: Julia Revault, Vincent Thuet
- Bigaruka Hubert : Uli Intwari
- Inkumburwa : Umuco Wacu
- John Beebwa : Umusanzu w'abagabo
- Kagame Alexis : Nsangire byose, Umurunga w’iminsi
- Mboneye Eulade : Indamukanyo
- Munyenadmutsa : Byose bigenda tubireba
- Nkurunziza : Umubano mu bantu
- Orchestre Impessa : Amabanga y’intore
- Orchestre Les Citadins : Iwacu mu Rwanda
- Orchestre les Copains : Sugira
- Rugamba : Akabyino ka Nyogokuru
- Rwanda : Mubyuke burakeye
Calibration, sound editing: TBD
Voice over : François Picard - France 24
Photos: Arno Lafontaine,  AFP (historical points of reference)
Interactive design: Giordano Cossu
Editing and english translations : Andrea Davoust (RFI), Françoise Champey-Huston (France 24)
and  Danielle Martineau

Editorial coordination: Latifa Mouaoued - RFI
Graphic design: Studio Graphique Multimédia France Médias Monde
Researchers: Déborah Lepage, Eugénie Ducret, Laurence Sarniguet - RFI
Web development: Guilhem Thebault - Racontr (www.racontr.com)


The crossmedia project Portraits from Changing Rwanda (www.rwanda20yearson.net) was conceived and produced by Hirya Lab. It includes a web documentary, a documentary film and an interactive photo exhibit.

On the 20th anniversary of the genocide, it tells the story of the Rwandans' struggle to rebuild their lives, bridging the past, the present and the future. It aims to show how individual challenges reflect those of the entire community: stories of reconciliation, but also of inner conflicts that spread and sometimes grow stronger.

The dozens of stories of farmers told in Portraits from Changing Rwanda shed light on how the country confronts its past, which still weighs heavily on daily life there. A majority of the population lives in poverty, and the economy depends heavily on subsistence agriculture.  

Rwandans living in the countryside have seen their lives altered by the deep social changes wrought by the genocide: the land has been shared with the “returnees” from exile, farmers have been regrouped in new villages (umudugudu), traditional gacaca community courts have put into practice a policy of justice and reconciliation. Former victims live side by side with former perpetrators in this new environment, and all are trying to rebuild their lives.

Interacting through photographic portraits
Nowadays in Rwanda, it's very difficult to openly discuss certain matters. Referring to any type of ethnic identity can lead to jail, as can criticising the government's development policies. Rwandans are also shy about publicly expressing personal opinions, which is why the project based itself on individual portraits, taken behind closed doors.

In order to break down barriers with witnesses, to make interactions more lively and more intimate, and to focus on each person and their story, regardless of their ethnic or social group, the project used a specific photographic concept. The concept of Polaroid and “unique” photo was made possible thanks to a 1937 camera (Speed Graphic + Aero Ektar lens + Fuji film), with the photo being developed immediately. Two shots were taken each time: one print was given to the person who was photographed, and the other was included in this project. Thus interactions centred around the shots taken by artist and photographer Arno Lafontaine.
Osée Muhebera
Osee Muhebera, age 49, has returned to his village after serving 14 years in jail. Back in 1994, he massacred many Tutsis and was convicted of genocide crimes. His land was expropriated and given to Tutsis returning from exile. He now farms a plot belonging to the state, but without a licence, he risks being jailed again.

Osee is a confessed genocide perpetrator who has returned to his village – the crime scene.
Alphonsine, 49, was accused of looting during the genocide, and her husband served a 15-year term for murder. She was acquitted by traditional “gacaca” community courts, but lives in dire poverty and struggles to feed her children and grandchildren. She is unable to pay back the money she has borrowed.

Alphonsine belongs to Rwanda's class of farmers who grew poorer in the aftermath of the genocide. She is trying to find a way out of poverty, even though her husband is unemployed. 
Jeanne, 32, genocide survivor and mother of two. Although traumatised by her family's massacre, she manages better than other survivors. She receives government subsidies, and authorities turn a blind eye to her illegal bar.

Jeanne represents the younger generation of genocide survivors, who have built their lives without families around them. 
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