The Spirits of Thousand Hills

director/producer: Isabella Sandri
(35 minutes) Italy
screening schedule

March-April 1997, some of them managed to return home alive. Very few, out of the two million who feld their country three years before. They are Hutu women arriving at Gizenyi, on the Rwandan border. They are coming from ex-Zaire (now the Congo Republic), having travelled hundreds of kilometres on foot. They have lost their children. Incredibly, they have managed to survive the attacks of Kabila’s rebels - and other soldiers whose identity is unclear, but all of Tutsi origin - in the refugee camps, the rivers and the equatorial forests. The attacks were programmed, intended to weaken a people vulnerable and defenceless.

In Kigali, on the other hand, live the other survivors, those who escaped the massacre of 1994. They are the Tutsi women. They have tried to rebuild their lives, families, and houses. They have learnt the art of bricklaying - how to square corners and mix cement and now they are brickmakers.

Hutu and Tutsi women recount the experiences of the last three years, after the genocide of April to July 1994. There are tales of horror which should not be ignored even if the rainy season washes away the signs of the repeated murder. Even now, every month, more than five hundred people are killed feeding the uninterrupted river of death in the "Land of a Thousand Hills" as Rwanda is called.

bio: Isabella Sandri was born in Rovigo, Italy. She graduated at Bologna University in music, art and drama sciences. In 1995 she received a diploma in cinema direction from "Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia" in Roma. She wrote, directed and edited many documentaries which were presented and awarded on film festivals in Italy and abroad. Her documentary film "Calcinacci" was the winner of the Italian section at "Festival Internazionale Cinema Giovani" in Torino. From 1987 to 1996 Ms. Sandri collaborated with RAI as programme director. Her film "Giro di lune tra terra e mare" won three prizes at 54th "Biennale di Venezia" competition. In 1997 she wrote, directed and produced the documentary of the Rwandan refugees "The Spirits of Thousand Hills" which won the Silver Spire Award at the 41st San Francisco International Film Festival and prize "Libero Bizzarri" at the 5th "Premio Nazionale del Documentario Italiano".

contact information:
Isabella Sandri,
Guandri Film
Via del Gonzaga 56
Roma 00163, Italy
phone: 39-6-666-3899