Rwanda documentary wins at film festival

Mike Mapes ’16 won best documentary at the International Youth Film Festival for his film, “I Am Kizito,” about a young Rwandan man named Kizito.

In January 2014, Mapes visited Rwanda on a Harvard-Westlake trip and met a man named Kizito, who told Mapes his story. Born in Rwanda, Kizito and his family grew up during a time of genocide, witnessing the confrontations of the Hutu and Tutsi tribes, and ultimately the mass killings of the Hutu tribe in 1994.

During this genocide, Kizito and his three-year-old brother endured the murder of their father and the rape of their mother. Although Kizito’s mother survived, she contracted AIDS and, later, lung cancer.

Kizito now attends Rwanda Tourism University College and is able to pay for his mother’s health insurance.

Upon Mapes’ departure from Rwanda, Kizito requested for him “to tell people what [he] saw [in Rwanda], and to share his story with [Mapes’] family and friends.”

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