In Cinemas March 31

Thursday, April 27, 2006

SHOOTING DOGS screens in the US:

Shooting Dogs Screening at McNeese University, Lake Charles, Louisiana,
USA. 24th April 2004.

I'm just back from USA where Shooting Dogs was screened to 500 people in Lake Charles, Louisiana. It was a wonderful evening - full of emotion and warmth. McNeese runs a yearly cultural series of events for members of the Lake Charles community. Our film was just one of those events. I guess I wondered whether people would be interested in our film - given how far Lake Charles is from Africa and, more importantly, how it suffered terribly at the hands of Hurricane Rita late last year - whole communities were destroyed, people are having to rebuild their lives. But they came to the film in their hundreds. I watched as car upon car arrived. It was tremendous to see so many people come to see the film and to witness their genuine feeling and interest in this story from Africa. I have been to many screenings for this film now but rarely have I seen such emotion, such raw feeling on display, such genuine interest from young and old. It made me more certain than ever that there is a huge US audience that wants and deserves to see this film.

Producer David Belton


At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes! many of us here in the usa want to see your film.


At 9:45 PM, Blogger Carly said...

I really hope that you're film gets sponsored in the U.S. What can we do to help that?

At 7:51 AM, Anonymous MaryR said...

I was so grateful that you made a DVD of the film for the people in Lake Charles, which allowed us to see this film. I hope that you get American distribution as I want to see it projected correctly in 33 mm and with good sound. But in spite of the equipment we were using, the power of the film came through. My husband has been to Rwanda, so I knew about the beauty of the people and the country. I am still completely unable to reconcile his positive experiences there, and your positive experiences making this movie, with what happened in 1994. How could kind, generous people turn to slaughter with machetes? And I am appalled that I vaguely knew about it in 1994, but didn't think America needed to get involved. I was wrong. We were all so wrong.

At 8:18 AM, Blogger Michelle M said...

Very powerful, moving, heartbreaking, and needed to be told. Brings awareness to what went on, and what's going on today.

At 9:57 AM, Anonymous geb said...

I had an uncle who was a Christian Brother and served the last several years of his life as a missionary in Nigeria, which is a different geographical area altogether from Rwanda, but I think that given the circumstances under which he lived and ultimately died, the conflicts among the tribes are not dissimilar and are a widespread, continuous tragedy across Africa.
Sadly, I have not been emotionally able to watch the film in its entirety because of the loss of a much loved uncle. Too many emotions well up inside of me. From what I have seen, though, I am left some pretty powerful feelings. I find it unbelievable that the Rwandan genocide could have happened in a place so full of natural beauty. It is unbelievable that Africa continues to be exploited by external interests while internally they are still in need of addressing some pretty basic needs. Helping to establish local economies is fine, but an economy can't survive until the support mechanisms under it exist and are stable. It's unbelievable that we in highly technological and industrialized cultures don't seem to recognize that. Everyone needs to watch this film. Everyone needs to know what happened. Everyone needs to recognize that human nature can still be vile.

At 10:05 AM, Anonymous david belton said...

Thanks for the comments so far. I'm glad that the film has had such a strong effect on people. As to what people can do to help us get the film widely watched, well keep talking about it, keep the debate going, keep blogging! Meanwhile, we will continue to work hard talking to key US distributors.
Spread the word!

At 8:09 PM, Anonymous JoeR said...

The film is great. This film deserves a showing to American audiences. It shows what can happen to sane reasonable people when hate controls. It really must be shown so the message can get out.

At 11:32 AM, Anonymous gwena said...

When I heard this was coming to Banners Series in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in such an unorthodox channel (through personal contacts, etc., not the limiting mass distributor network), I knew it was even more important to get to it. I already had the interest in the events, being a PBS documentary addict, but the chance it might not get distributorship in US, made it a NOW OR NEVER must-see.

The film is very heavy, along the lines of the Schindler story, but much more disturbing since there was (appropriately)little of a resolved ending. I liked how the film posed a lot of new and the age-old questions about heroism, sacrifice, running away or staying put, existence (or not?) of God or good amongst crazed violence committed by otherwise sane and rational citizens, without offering squared off, pat answers. We are left hanging in shock and wonder, even with the uplifting last line Marie makes to Joe (Hugh Dancy character).

Even if this film gets US distributorship, with great sound and technology, I suspect few other viewers will get the humble oomph behind the story that we in LC got with the personal visit with David Belton. He was gracious enough, first of all to fly all the way here, make a special DVD for the event--when it is not even released, and stay long into his night (by way of his UK time zone) to answer our questions and to verify the truths about the film (like yes, the people really did BEG to be killed by bullets rather than machete). The true uplift for me was Belton's story behind the flimmaking, the humility of self-analysis it must have taken to revisit his own demons and the sincerity in which he hopes to present as true a picture of the time as possible through the fictionalized characters--by using real locations, some real survivors as actors, and other authenticities. His credibility is enhanced by his journalistic background--even if he himself doubts it.

Thank you Mr. Belton and Mary and Joe Richardson for this important opportunity.


At 5:35 PM, Anonymous maryc said...

I saw the film in Lake Charles as part of the excellent Banners Series. Even with the technical problems with the sound, people were fixed in their seats, and at one point the whole audience gasped at a violent act which took place out of sight. Although the film is about an horrific moment in history, it did not brutalize the audience with the violence of the event, rather you were horrified that people could act in this way, and that nothing was done to stop it. The characters were so human, so beautifully portrayed. I don't think you can leave the film without asking, what would I have done?

At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I missed the film when McNeese showed it during the Banners program -- BUT was pleased to find out that it will be available on the British Airways flight I'm booked on next week! So I can't wait to see it and blog about my response.

At 6:44 AM, Blogger CherylW said...

I finally saw the film on Wednesday night while flying British Air -- and was just completely enthralled. The general historical details had haunted me for years, but this film's depiction was just so powerful -- frightening in making the horrors of hate and genocide so visceral and personal. The use of real Rwandans as actors was a brilliant choice: these faces were just beautiful and shining.

I am proud that our Banners committee was able to show the film in the U.S. and that the local crowd responded so postively to it. Thanks, David Belton, for coming when Mary and Joe asked you to do so -- we have all benefited from this.

You've left us all wondering what we would do if we were there. Stay? Go? And have left us at the end wondering what is to be done -- what is next? That there's no pat ending, no nice tying it all up solution -- demands that we continue to ponder the many important questions raised throughout the film.

Hatred is unbelievably powerful, and when it is directed at a people so far away from us, it is often far too easy to simply ignore or forget. The faces here and the stories make that impossible.

This is one of the films that will stay with me forever. I wish I had a copy of it to use with classes -- to ask students to write about the many significant issues addressed.

John Hurt dominated the screen in a quiet, amazing performance -- one of his best ever.

Thanks again, David.


At 10:13 AM, Anonymous david belton said...

Just a note to thank all of you have so kindly written about the film. I know that the director, Michael Caton-Jones is as proud of this film as of any he has made and will read these comments with huge interest. Likewise our great cast - UK and Rwandan. It's great to have your comments and your questions - the big ones, the ones we all have to ask and which this film attempts to prompt people into asking.
Keep writing and do have a look at the associated blogs on this site - they are all fascinating and valuable.
We battle on to get a US distributor and I hope to be able to bring news sooner rather than later on that.
Keep writing and spreading the word - it really can help.

At 4:57 AM, Anonymous PushPush said...

I can't believed I missed this. I live near Lake Charles. Had I'd known about this beforehand, I am sure that I would have attended.

At 7:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sad. I missed seeing it in Lake Charles when it was shown through the Banners series. It was kind to hear you speak of our loss. Hopefully, we will be able to procure a copy through DVD. I love Hugh Dancy and John Hurt and have been emotionally affected by the pictures and screen captures I have seen. Please consider releasing it to a US audience. Kimmy

At 2:58 PM, Anonymous June of Vancouver, Canada said...

To everyone involving in the making of Shooting Dogs, your participation has made the 'difference.' Like many people, i didn't know much of the genocide until i saw the film. Shooting Dogs has inspired me to love more, and to make the best out of the time i have been given. The story will remain with me, and i'll make sure people around me learn of it as well. Peace and love to all of you. Thank you.

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At 2:46 PM, Blogger Kat said...

I realize this is an old post but it seemed the most appropriate one for now. Congratulations on your Heartland Festival award! We saw the movie this weekend and is it one of the most powerful and well-done films ever; IMO it's right up there with Hotel Rwanda and Schindler's List. If you have a mailing list regarding the US release (and name change??) I'd love to be added.

At 7:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I travel to Rwanda frequently as part of my work for the World Bank. I saw "shooting dogs" on my BA flight to Africa and was incredibly moved. What a well made and engaging film this was!As chance will have it, on that visit to Kigali I got talking to a local taxi driver who told me he was one of the extras on the set of "shooting dogs", driving a UN van (he himself was a surviving tutsi of the Genocide). He spoke very positively of the film, and also stressed its accuracy over "Hotel Rwanda" (which many rwandans deem to have been quite inaccurate). Since my return to DC, I have been trying to get hold of the film, trying to verify the account of the cabdriver, and spot him in the UN van. I have been trying to obtain a copy on my stopovers in Heathrow, and checking google for any possible showing in washington DC. No luck yet! DC would be an ideal place to show the film, and a showing at the World Bank would be even better! Let me know if this is something we could arrange, and I can assist!!

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