Rwanda Filmmaker Philbert Mbabazi Eyes 92nd Oscars Award With His Short Film ‘I Got My Things And Left’

Philbert Mbabazi
Philbert Mbabazi
Philbert Mbabazi’s short film I Got My Things And Left Eligible For Oscar Selection

Philbert Mbabazi’s short film, ‘I Got My Things And Left’ has qualified for the 92nd Oscars Awards after winning the City Grand Prize at the International Film Festival Oberhausen 2019 in Germany. The International Film Festival Oberhausen is one of the biggest of such festivals in Europe. The filmmaker’s win at the festival qualifies ‘I Got My Things And Left’ for Oscars selection. However, that will be after its official submission.

In July, the 22-minute film screened publicly for the first time in Kigali. ‘I Got My Things And Left’ was produced in Rwanda. Philbert Mbabazi is currently attending the Locarno Filmmakers Academy running from August 7th to 17th. However, this is part of the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland.

Cast, story, and success of I Got My Things And Left

The short film is a reflection of life, death, and afterlife following the death of Eric. Eric was a young man with high value for people, life, and relations, despite not being a Christian. Consequently, his mourners, a group of youth, are left to question the existence of the Rurema and the afterlife. Rurema is the traditional Rwandan creator.

According to Philbert Mbabazi, the title of the film is influenced by ‘House of Hunger’, a 1979 book by Zimbabwean writer, Charles Dambudzo Marechera. The full cast are Philbert Mbabazi, Shenge Ndimbira, Cedic Mizero, Rebeccah Mucyo, and Eric Ngangare.

Philbert Mbabazi
A scene from the short film I Got My Things And Left

So far, the film has featured at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2019. Also, at the 2018 Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur in Switzerland, the film received a special Jury Mention. Speaking about the movie, the Jury wrote,

“Mourning a friend is a way of honoring the dead and of rethinking your own way of life and the society you live in. A special mention goes to a film that touched us through its tenderness and poetry. A new and fresh voice that we would like to encourage to continue exploring.”

Other notable features and competition entries of the film include;

  • Indie Lisboa International Film Festival 2019 in Portugal
  • Hamburg International Short Film Festival 2019 in Germany
  • Go Short International Film Festival Nijmegen 2019 in Netherlands
  • Durban International Film Festival 2019

Philbert Mbabazi will also feature in several upcoming events including;

  • Festival du Film Africain de Lausanne in Switzerland
  • Belo Horizonte Short Film Festival in Brazil
  • African Film Festival Cologne in Germany
  • International Film Festival Message to Man in Russia
  • Curto Cirtcuito International Film Festival in Spain

Philbert Mbabazi’s rise to stardom

Till date, Philbert Mbabazi has produced over 10 films since beginning his career in 2011. His first film in 2012, ‘Ruhago/Destiny FM won the SIGNIS Award at the Zanzibar International Film Festival for the best emerging filmmaker in East Africa. However, Philbert Mbabazi is also the co-founder of Kalinga Wave Pictures located at Kigali City Tower, (KCT).

In 2015, The New Times reported about the works of the filmmaker who was 24 years at that time. In the article, Mbabazi spoke about how he started his career as a writer at the Kagugu-based SOS Hermann Gmeriner Technical High School. However, he could hot complete his academic pursuit. In the article Philbert Mbabazi said,

“I used to write for the monthly school magazine and also read news on the assembly. It’s from here that I learned how to package information through satirical writing. We need critical thinkers who will take us to an advanced intellectual level. And those are kids still in school… children who read and write critically at an early stage.”

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