Man of the Year


TYPE
: Documentary
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Production

LOGLINE

The country of Rwanda is celebrated as a beacon of hope in Africa, but this reputation obscures a sinister truth. Man of the Year is about the myth of Rwanda, and follows survivors and activists who are risking their lives to expose the deadly workings of a brutal regime and the disinformation campaign orchestrated by Paul Kagame, the country’s autocratic President.

SYNOPSIS

Those who write the first draft of history—from journalists to academics and human rights researchers—don't just shape our memory of major events. They also influence policy, law, and our collective identity.

But what happens when storytellers get the story wrong?

For the past 30 years, one man has been able to bend the world's most powerful people and organisations to his will, getting them to turn a blind eye to murder, torture and lies, all because of a story he told.

Forbes Africa 2018 “Man of the Year,” Rwanda's Digital President Paul Kagame, who took power in the midst of the 1994 genocide, was able to recast himself from cunning rebel to visionary leader, darling of the aid industry, and friend of the global elite, all through the power of spycraft, disinformation and reputation laundering.

In this documentary, we see how journalists, academics, and global do-gooders were turned into propagandists whose stories helped create and justify a system of totalitarian oppression.

With exclusive access, we expose how a one-sided narrative became official dogma, and show the devastating consequences for those who have been silenced.

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

Man of the Year is about storytellers who got the story wrong, about how they accidentally created the myth of Kagame, and about the people who died because of ths.

It is about unspeakability: that is, the political context that prevents victims from speaking freely about trauma, and about how Westerners helped create that context.

The goal is to interrogate how power manipulates collective memory, in order to create space for more to remember, mourn and reconcile. And, most importantly, the goal is to teach storytellers to learn to tread carefully.

When oppressors are glorified, it not only adds to victims’ trauma. It also condemns them to another cycle of violence.

 

KEY CREW

Benedict Moran - Director

Benedict Moran is an award-winning journalist and independent filmmaker. He has directed, reported, and produced for The New Yorker, PBS Newshour, PBS Frontline, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, VICE News, and more.  He was an official artist of the 2016 and 2018 New York Television Festival, and is a fellow of the Sundance Institute Episodic Storytelling Lab. 

He has a Masters of Science in Journalism and a Masters of International Affairs from  Columbia University.

Anjan Sundaram - Executive Producer

Anjan Sundaram is the award-winning author of Stringer and Bad News, about the destruction of Rwanda’s free press. He has been interviewed by Christiane Amanpour on CNN, Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, and by the BBC, NPR and CBC. He has produced TV series for VICE and major international networks. His TED Talk has received over a million views.

He graduated from Yale and holds a PhD in postcolonial journalism.

Claude Gatebuke - Co-Writer

I am a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. I was a child in Rwanda’s capital in 1994, when the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi were assassinated, in an act that immediately launched a brutal killing spree. Above all, I want the world to believe my story. My mother and I barely escaped with our lives, at one point being forced to dig our own graves. It was then, knees quaking in the fields in what I thought would be my last moments alive, that I prayed the world would know what had happened to my family, and who was responsible.

I survived. I escaped over the mountains, into neighboring countries, and eventually, made my way to the United States. And yet, as time went by, I have seen the global community accept a lie, one that glorified a man who from my perspective was behind the trauma many of us experienced. 

For two decades, I have been trying to share the truth, through activism, writing, and more. This has gotten many of my colleagues killed, and I have been harassed by Rwandan officials. I deeply believe the US should stop supporting Rwanda. “I’m paying taxes, part of it is contributing to my potential assassination,” I recently told Freedom House, in a report that received widespread coverage in global media.

 

Connect With The Filmmakers:

ACCOLADES

-
The Gotham Film & Media Institute - Fiscal Sponsorship Program 2022
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'Man of the Year is poised to be a tour-de-force' —The Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice
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"A vicious plot to make a fake film...[an] evil project." -RUSHYASHYA (PROPAGANDA OUTLET)

 

UPDATE - September 28, 2021

We are now open to recieving donations for "Man of the Year."

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