In the Tall Grass
(57 minutes) Rwanda/USA
Director/Producer: J. Coll Metcalfe
In the Tall Grass tells the story of Rwanda's search for redemption as the country sits down to reckon with the genocide using a network of traditional community courts called gacaca. The films follows a genocide survivor named Joanita Mukarusanga through this historic process as she confronts the neighbor she says killed her family, and the community that sanctioned their murders. That neighbor, Anastase Butera, admits to witnessing the murders, but denies any further participation. With unprecedented access, In the Tall Grass explores universal themes of justice in post-conflict societies and the challenges countries like Rwanda face in attempting the transition from violence to peace. Through the experiences of Joanita and Anastase, the film illustrates how the genocide and the ideology it propelled continue to play a dangerous and destabilizing role that, if left unaddressed, threaten to one day plunge Rwanda back into chaos. Both Joanita and Anastase view the process of gacaca with a mixture of hope and apprehension. Joanita does not expect much, but hopes to learn where the killers put the bodies of her children. For Anastase, who grew up with the ideology of exclusion and violence, the experience is just the latest in a world that's turned upside down. The new Rwanda is one he is not entirely prepared for.
J. Coll Metcalfe is a documentary filmmaker and journalist based in Los Angeles. Prior to making this film, the director lived and worked in Africa, covering human rights issues in east and central Africa for Internews Network, National Public Radio, the Associated Press, and Reuters. Mr. Metcalfe is a founder and editor of the International Justice Tribune, a bi-monthly publication devoted to human rights law and war crimes prosecution.
J. Coll Metcalfe, Director/Producer
©2006 United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF)