The Central Missouri Returned Peace Corps Volunteers hosted the Third Goal International Film Festival on Saturday in Chamber Auditorium. The festival featured five films that either impacted Peace Corps volunteers or highlighted issues in host countries.
The festival’s feature film, "Kinyarwanda," followed six survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. It was based on true accounts of the refugees, who found safety in the madrassa of Nyanza, a town in Rwanda, and the Grand Mosque of Kigali.
Alrick Brown, director of "Kinyarwanda," served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ivory Coast, a country in Africa. Brown worked with a $250,000 budget, filmed the movie in 16 days and worked mostly with nonprofessional actors.
“Every time I met someone in Rwanda they told me a story, so I started to see that Rwanda was this land woven of stories,” Brown said. “And when you look at something, the tapestry on the surface may look very smooth, but underneath it is very jagged.”
Brown directed the film to fulfill his goals as a Peace Corps volunteer and to show others the process of forgiveness Rwandans went through during and after the genocide.
“Rwanda, as a country, shows forgiveness because they had no choice,” Brown said. “Otherwise, they would have been mired in a cycle of vengeance and get-back and get-back. And the pain is still there. The purpose of this film was to begin the unifying process.”
Rangira Gallimore, MU faculty member in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, started the program Step Up! American Association for Rwandan Women and has seen much of the distress currently in Rwanda.
“It is not something you get rid of, so the post-traumatic stress disorder, I think, is a big issue in the country,” Gallimore said. “And like everywhere else, mental health does not really get a lot of support in Rwanda.”
Other films shown during the festival included "Hijos de Kennedy," which documents the lives of Peace Corps volunteers in Colombia and "Last Train Home," which shows the lives of a Chinese family during the New Year’s migration.
The festival organizers held a silent auction including items from various Peace Corps volunteers' host countries with proceeds benefitting Central Missouri RPCV's small grant projects. They also held an international food tasting and a photo contest featuring photos taken by volunteers during their service.
Returned Peace Corps volunteer Mike Burden helped coordinate the film festival to promote awareness of international issues.
“I feel like, as a returned Peace Corps volunteer, it is our responsibility to share this with other people,” Burden said. “It is our job to fulfill the third goal of the Peace Corps: share our experiences with other people so they can learn about the world. Film is a pathway to do that.”