The Rwandan Genocide of 1994 has been well documented and many stories, movies, and books have been made which convey the pain and suffering experienced during that dark period of Rwanda’s history. Followers of Saddleback Leather, Love41 or Dave and Suzette know that they are heavily involved in the lives of the people of Rwanda and through their years of ministering, they have met some interesting folks with none more compelling than a young man named Kwasa.
Suzette first met Kwasa in 2012 when one of her sponsored sons, Anthanase, gave him clothes so he could go to church. Kwasa was surviving on the streets and living in a tiny shed on the side of a furniture makers shop. He made a living by robbing and beating people and was an extremely rough character. Despite his harsh exterior, Kwasa had a charisma which drew people to him. One of Suzette’s favorite quotes from Kwasa says it all: “I have 500 people who love me and 300 who don’t!” This dichotomy perfectly represents many of the young people of Rwanda; a desire to succeed and prosper, but a continual struggle to overcome the past that shapes them. With this in mind, Saddleback filmmaker Joe Callander set out to document a snapshot of Kwasa’s life.
This dichotomy perfectly represents many of the young people of Rwanda; a desire to succeed and prosper, but a continual struggle to overcome the past that shapes them.
Joe said: “I knew the Rwandan genocide was way too big, horrific, and complex for me to approach head-on as a filmmaker making the kind of films I make. There have been many books, news reports, and PBS specials that have examined the genocide with far more insight and value than I could ever manage. To me, a portrait on a couple Rwandan friends was a much more interesting angle, and so that’s the route I chose for this film. It was a conscious decision to only touch on the genocide incidentally, as its shadow fell on my subjects in the course of their daily life, which as it turns out, is quite often. But to set the tone, the film opens with no direct mention of genocide – just a couple friends doing what friends do like eating lunch together, bumming around town, and goofing off down by the kung fu dojo.”
Life After Death has appeared in numerous film festivals includingthe 2014 True/False Film Fest, the 2014 Little Rock Film Fest, the 2014 BAMCinemaFest, the 2014 Hot Docs Film Fest, the 2014 Chicago Film Fest, and the 2015 Sebastapol Documentary Fest. We think you’ll love every episode as you laugh, cry, and marvel at the life of Kwasa.
We’re going to share this extraordinary film one episode at a time, every Tuesday over the next twelve weeks, so sit back and enjoy this incredible adventure.