Located in Kabeza, a Kigali city suburb, is the newly established Samples Theatre, an investment by young filmmaker Richard Mugwaneza.
“Theatre has over time been proving harder to invest in by most investors. I was thinking of a place to engage activities with fellow filmmakers,” he said.
Mugwaneza said film requires both quality pictures and sound. He further stated Sample’s Theatre will emphasise on quality of local film projects.
From 2009 Mugwaneza has been working as a film producer and director. Some of the films he has shot include Nota Benne, which introduced him into the career and award winning Philbert Mbabazi’ Ruhago.
“We noticed that even when our films received nominations and awards at festivals, they weren’t the best in visual and audio quality, they won mainly because of the stories,” said Mugwaneza.
Lack of theatre is one of the major problems that for long has been faced by most Rwandan filmmakers. Mugwaneza believes that due to lack of facilities, among them theatre, many local filmmakers find it difficult in marketing films.
“Lack of such a facility hindered smooth running of our work,” Mugwaneza added.
The facility worth Rwf10,156,000 holds 15 seats, theatre designed curtains, a projector and audio system to enable screenings. It also shares a section, which is purposely dedicated for the film post-production. The facility has also employed a team of four staff, who mainly work on production projects.
In recognition of the investment, Samples Studios recently emerged among the creative industry contestants who won a financial grant worth $20,000 from the Rwanda Creative Hub under the Institute of war and Peace Reporting to facilitate the creative industry.
“This is to facilitate the film post-production process, which is crucial in the film production business,” he said.
Some of Sample studio’s production projects is Seburikoko, a television drama series directed by Kennedy Mazimpaka. The series have been running for seven months on national television.
The facility also is aimed at availing space for Rwandan and international film premiers and hosting film previews for film critics and Journalists.
Though he won the grant, Mugwaneza stated that Rwandan film industry still lacks sources of funding.
“Unlike other business sectors, we can hardly access grants or funding from financial institutions,” observed Mugwaneza.
He also singled out piracy as a major problem that the industry is currently battling with.
Mugwaneza noted that piracy problem has been partly brought about by lack of quality local films.
“Most of what is being pirated is not authentic, that even amongst the public we are blamed for poor projects,” he said.
Most of Rwandan film projects haven’t won awards at international film festivals, since filmmakers lack resources to invest in the projects.
Through interaction with filmmakers at various festivals, Mugwaneza observed that they dedicate a lot of time for film projects, resulting in better results.