Home #Hwoodtimes Interview with Genocide survivor and film director Jo Ingabire Moys

Interview with Genocide survivor and film director Jo Ingabire Moys

By Bethany Nichole

Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 11/3/22 – In a Hollywood Times exclusive, we had the pleasure of sitting down with genocide survivor and director of the Oscar-qualifying short film Bazigaga, the very impressive Jo Ingabire Moys.

Jo, coming to us live from Rwanda, gave us some behind-the-scenes info on her casting, inspiration, and what she feels her greatest successes and challenges around her short film were. Here’s what she had to say. Also be sure to check out the full recording, linked below.

Bazigaga is a short film directed by Jo that takes a heartfelt and in-depth look at the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. It was an event that claimed the lives of over 800,000 men, women, and children making it one of the largest genocides in recorded history. Jo’s film captures the raw emotion of a truly terrifying ordeal and no wonder she was able to capture it so well, Jo herself is a survivor of the genocide.

The film portrays a story of a traditional Rwandan healer who takes in a pastor and his young daughter to prevent them from being killed by local militia. The militia who pursued them were too frightened to enter the home, fearing Bazigaga would curse them or worse. In this way, she was able to keep the small family safe. It’s an inspiring tale and even better, it is a true one.

The character of Bazigaga is based on the real-life Zula Karuhimbi, a traditional Rwandan healer who saved hundreds of lives during the genocide by doing exactly that. She would bring individuals and families into her home, keeping the outside militia at bay as her reputation for mystical powers proceeded her. While the militia feared little else, repercussion from Zula’s otherworldly ways, and their faith in her power, kept them at bay.

The viewer truly feels the raw emotions of the experience and with good reason, as Jo herself was present for the genocide in Rwanda at the age of five. Jo explains in our interview her viewpoint of the atrocity as a small child and how she was able to sort through and make sense of events so incredibly senseless, especially through the eyes of the child.

Photo Courtesy of London Flair PR

Jo also explains that another reason the emotion of the film feels so real and raw, is that the actors themselves are also all genocide survivors, all personally affected by it in some way. She discusses her challenge in asking the actors to dig deep to pull forward the emotion but also being mindful of not retraumatizing them in some way. While it may have been one of her struggles, it was also truly one of her successes as the film portrays the emotion behind the scenes in a way that viewers can really feel.

(https://vimeo.com/725186098/b84419436a) – Trailer Link

While genocide is something that many of us may never fully understand or relate to in terms of personal experience, there are themes present in the film that reach across all of humanity.

The film dives into the concepts of faith and forgiveness, two aspects that one would think wholly absent during genocide in light of the horrifying atrocities happening all around.

Faith, however, Jo explains, was actually present all throughout. It is demonstrated in the film by the faith of the militia in the powers of the medicine woman and the spirit world, the faith of the pastor, and the faith of Bazigaga. For the people of Rwanda, their faith was in a higher power, in each other, and in the faith that somehow through it all, there would be light on the other side.

Photo Courtesy of London Flair PR

As it turns out they were right. Jo also explains the role of forgiveness in current-day Rwanda. We may think of the acts of the genocide as unforgivable, but she explains things from the Rwandan viewpoint.  She gives us an in-depth look at what factors contributed to the genocide and how although we like to think of these atrocities as acts of “the other” or as things we ourselves would never do; we see how all humanity is capable of this type of darkness given the right factors. This concept has been key in the healing of Rwanda, Jo reports. These acts of forgiveness she herself has witnessed restore faith for all of us in the power of healing.

She says that in Rwanda there is a saying: that although God may go off traveling, it is in Rwanda that He returns to sleep, that it is God’s home. And with the incredible ability the Rwandan people have shown in rising out of an unbelievable tragedy, sewing seeds of grace and forgiveness out of the soil of hatred and violence we have to say, we tend to agree.

Ms. Moys is certainly a woman to watch. Her ability to translate real events, people, and emotions onto the big screen is nothing less than phenomenal. Meanwhile, her deep insight into overall themes of humanity demonstrates the insightful wisdom that lives inside a young woman, wise beyond her years. See what she has coming up next and be sure to check out the full interview. Believe us you will not want to miss it or what is coming up next from this inspiring director.