My Neighbor My Killer

  • Official Selection - Cannes Film Festival (2009)
  • Best Documentary Nominee - Gotham Awards (2009)
  • Winner - Human Rights Watch Nestor Almendros Award for courage in filmmaking (2009)
  • Best Documentary - MontrĂ©al Black Film Festival (2010)

Could you ever forgive the people who slaughtered your family?
In 1994, hundreds of thousands of Rwandan Hutus were incited to wipe out the country's Tutsi minority. From the crowded capital to the smallest village, local 'patrols' massacred lifelong friends and family members, most often with machetes and improvised weapons. Announced in 2001, and ending this year, the government put in place the Gacaca Tribunals — open-air hearings with citizen-judges meant to try their neighbors and rebuild the nation. As part of this experiment in reconciliation, confessed genocide killers are sent home from prison, while traumatized survivors are asked to forgive them and resume living side-by-side. Filming for close to a decade in a tiny hamlet, award-winning filmmaker Anne Aghion has charted the impact of Gacaca on survivors and perpetrators alike. Through their fear and anger, accusations and defenses, blurry truths, inconsolable sadness, and hope for life renewed, she captures the emotional journey to coexistence.

Film Credits:

  • Produced & Directed by Anne Aghion
  • Edited by Nadia Ben Rachid
  • Camera by James Kakwerere, Linette Frewin, Claire Bailly du Bois, Mathieu Hagnery, Simon Rittmeier
  • Sound Recording by Richard Fleming, Pierre Camus
  • Sound Editing by Roland Duboué, Dolorès Jordi, Anne-Marguerite Monory
  • Sound Mix by Nathalie Vidal, Yves Servagent
  • Translation by Assumpta Mugiraneza
  • Music: "Imyoma", "Bakobwa mwirira", "Mbahoze Nte?" by Florida Uwera, Production Centre Universitaire des Arts, Université nationale du Rwanda."Trompes Amakondera" recorded by Jos Gansemanns, Editions Fonti Musicali - Claude Flagel. "Kana" by Cécile Kayirebwa, Courtesy of Ceka I Rwanda - Cécile Kayirebwa.

Produced with support from:

The producer wishes to thank:

Gacaca: Living Together Again In Rwanda?

Winner of the Unesco Fellini Prize (2003)

The first film in this award-winning trilogy ventures into the rural heart of the African nation of Rwanda. Follow the first steps in one of the world's boldest experiments in reconciliation: the Gacaca (Ga-CHA-cha) Tribunals. These are a new form of citizen-based justice aimed at unifying this country of 8 million people after the 1994 genocide which claimed over 800,000 lives in 100 days. While world attention is focused on the unfolding procedures, award-winning documentarian Anne Aghion bypasses the usual interviews with politicians and international aid workers, skips the statistics, and goes directly to the emotional core of the story, talking one-on-one with survivors and accused killers alike. In this powerful, compassionate and insightful film, with almost no narration, and using only original footage, she captures first-hand how ordinary people struggle to find a future after cataclysm.

Film Credits:

  • Director: Anne Aghion
  • Producers: Philip Brooks, Laurent Bocahut, Anne Aghion
  • Editor: Nadia Ben Rachid
  • Photography: Mathieu Hagnery,James Kakwerere
  • Sound Recordist: Pierre Camus
  • Sound Editor: Anne Marguerite Monory
  • Sound Mixer: Stéphane Larrat
  • Consultant: Jihan El-Tahri
  • Production Administration: Benoit Gryspeerdt, Nadège Hasson
  • Translation / Interpretation: Jean Pierre Sagahutu, Pauline Ligtenberg-Mukabalisa, Assumpta Mugiraneza, Jean Damascène Bizimana, Ephrem Gasasira, Stanislas Kanyanzira, Jean de Dieu Karangwa, Geneviève Mukandekezi, Charles Rubagumya, Joseph Ufiteyezu, Mélanie Uwamaliya

The film was supported by a grant from The Soros Documentary Fund of the Open Society Institute, along with the help of The Sundance Documentary Fund (a program of the Sundance Institute) and with the logistical support of RCN Justice & Démocratie

Produced with support from:

  • The United States Institute of Peace
  • The Procirep and the French Centre National de la Cinématographie
  • The Church Development Service (EED) by means of the ABP (Germany)

In Rwanda we say... The family that does not speak dies

Emmy Award-winner (2005)

Since 1999, award-winning filmmaker Anne Aghion has traveled to rural Rwanda, to chart the impact of that country's efforts at ethnic reconciliation. In Rwanda we say... The family that does not speak dies, her second film on the subject, continues Aghion's quest to learn how the human spirit survives a trauma as unfathomable as the attempt, in 1994, to wipe out the Tutsi minority, with 800,000 lives claimed in 100 days. In Rwanda we say... is the next chapter in a fascinating and intimate look at how, and whether, people can overcome fear, hatred and deep emotional scars, to forge a common future after genocide.

Aghion's influential 2002 film, Gacaca, Living Together Again in Rwanda? captured the feelings of both survivors and alleged killers in the remote community of Ntongwe, just as the government was announcing the Gacaca (ga-CHA-cha), a new system of citizen-based justice intended to handle over 100,000 genocide suspects languishing in detention. In Rwanda we say...returns two years later as close to 16,000 of these suspects, still untried, are released across the country: having confessed to their crimes, and served the maximum sentence the Gacaca will eventually impose, suspects of appalling crimes are sent home to plow fields and fetch water alongside the people they are accused of victimizing.

In Rwanda we say... focuses on the release of one suspect, and the effect of his return on this tiny hillside hamlet. While the government's message of a "united Rwandan family" infiltrates the language of the community, reactions to this imposed co-existence reel from numb acceptance to repressed rage. Violence seems to lurk just below the surface. What unfolds, however, is an astonishing testament to the liberating power of speech: little by little, people begin to talk in a profound and articulate way - first to the camera, and then to each other -- as these neighbors negotiate the emotional task of accepting life side by side.

Film Credits:

Produced with support from:

The Notebooks of Memory

This third film in the series focuses on tribunals of local citizen-judges weighing survivor accounts of the massacres against the testimony of perpetrators. (2009)

On a lush green Rwandan hillside, more than a decade after the 1994 genocide to wipe out the Tutsi population, a small rural community gathers on the grass over and over again for the Gacaca (ga-CHA-cha) trials, a unique experiment in justice meant to bring unity back to this nation. In The Notebooks of Memory award-winning filmmaker Anne Aghion spends four years following the process, as a tribunal of local citizen-judges weighs survivor accounts of the massacres against the testimony of perpretrators who barter confessions for reduced prison sentences.

Film Credits:

Produced with support from: