In Cinemas March 31

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Screening at The Everyman, Hampstead.

There will be a special screening of Shooting Dogs tonight at The Everyman in Hampstead (North London).

The evening will be hosted by Geoffrey Robertson QC, who is founder and head of Doughty Street Chambers. He was recently appointed to the Appeals Chamber of the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Also in attendance will be Steve Crawshaw; the UK Director of Human Rights Watch, Oona King; who founded the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Great Lakes Region and Genocide Prevention, Elizabeth Wilmshurst and a representative from the Rwandan Embassy in London.

I’ll be there to get a full report on the evening and place a posting soon on how it all went.

Packed SHOOTING DOGS presentation and debate at The Royal Geographical Society, London

Last night SHOOTING DOGS producers David Belton and Pippa Cross discussed their experience of making the film with a huge audience at The Royal Geographical Society in London. David Belton reports:

"Last night Pippa Cross and I spoke to the Royal Geographical Society in London. In front of a packed audience of 650 members we showed clips from the film and spoke of the experience of going to Rwanda and recreating one episode that took place during the genocide. As you can imagine with such an audience, we knew we were talking to extremely well-informed people and the question and answer session afterwards reflected that. There were questions from the audience on how the Rwandan cast and crew responded to the making of the film, on whether there was any way that the West could have stopped the genocide, on Rwanda today and the process of Gacaca as a means of providing truth and reconciliation, and whether Paul Kagame is a force for good in Rwanda. It was a highly stimulating evening and it was good to see that the entire audience stayed for the question and answer session. Also I was pleased to see senior members of DfID at the talk as well as Linda Melvern, the author of the excellent and highly informative book on the genocide, A People Betrayed. Tonight Geoffrey Robertson QC hosts his screening of the film for top lawyers, judges and politicians and that again promises to stimulate debate on what happened in 1994 and help spread the word about Shooting Dogs."

Monday, February 27, 2006

"Absolutely and unequivocally, you must see Shooting Dogs."

-a new review of Shooting Dogs from

A film about Rwandan genocide was never going to be laugh a minute, but director Michael Caton-Jones takes a difficult subject and brings us a film of some magnitude, packed with moving and sensitive performances. Hugh Dancy plays a young teacher in a Rwandan school who encounters first hand the resentment and aggression towards the Tutsi by the Hutu tribe, but at first he doesn't take it too seriously - not until mayhem breaks out and people start getting senselessly butchered. At first the people within the school are protected by UN Forces, but as the trouble escalates it seems some pen-pusher from far away is about to move the goalposts and allow the unthinkable to happen. Dancy's performance is gripping, and while with the benefit of hindsight his naivety seems ridiculous, you sympathise and agonise and feel some of the fear his character is undoubtedly subjected to. It's great too to see John Hurt in a substantial lead role for a change, playing a man of the cloth whose faith is rocked by the brutality and carnage. Hurt only seems to get wheeled out for camp cameos these days, so it's a delight to see him roll back the years and put in a performance worthy of his earlier career in landmark movies such as 10 Rillington Place and The Elephant Man.

The movie is not a document of the entire Rwandan genocide but concentrates on the first few days of the bloodiest one-sided annihilation in modern history. Shooting Dogs will make you angry, it'll make you frustrated, it'll make you feel ashamed and it'll make you cry a lot. Rarely have I seen a film this devastating. While it's never pleasant viewing it's a film I implore you to make sure you see. Absolutely and unequivocally, you must see Shooting Dogs.

-Jeremy Allen

Friday, February 24, 2006

Dublin Film Festival

A special screening of 'Shooting Dogs' will be shown tonight at the Dublin Film Festival with Michael Caton-Jones and John Hurt in attendance.

If you get to see the film tonight, let us know what you think...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

“I challenge you not to be affected by its power.”

-Five-star review of Shooting Dogs by

Following Hotel Rwanda's endeavours to tell the world about the Rwanda genocide of 1994, Shooting Dogs revisits events leading up to the shocking violence. Director Michael Caton-Jones (Scandal, Memphis Belle, Rob Roy) tells the (partially) true story of a catholic priest and his school in the Rwandan capital Kigali which becomes a safe haven for thousands of refugees when the Rwandan president is killed and Hutu militia begin to turn on the minority Tutsi civilians.

John Hurt plays the priest. His school is being used by a detachment of Belgian UN troops as a base from which to monitor the fragile peace in Rwanda. Hugh Dancy (Black Hawk Down) is Joe, fresh faced young teacher, on a gap year of sorts who stays at the school. When the Rwandan president's plane is brought down and a coup becomes apparent, the Hutu militia's attacks on the Tutsi population leads to the school becoming a safe haven for the persecuted.

Joe is an upper middle class lad who's completely unprepared for the responsibilities and subsequent decisions he has to face as the situation erupts around him. Having naively promised his favourite student Marie that everything will be okay for her and her family, he is then faced with the choice of escaping with the exiting UN troops or staying to almost certain death with the Tutsi refugees, now completely unprotected from the preying Hutus surrounding the school.

There's a lot of controlled anger in the film, not simply aimed at the machete-wielding Hutu militia but at the impotent UN, whose troops not only fail to act in the midst of the genocide, but are ordered to pull out when it starts looking dangerous. The film shows how UN Capitaine Delon (played by Dominique Horwitz) is under mandate not to maintain peace, or even protect civilians, but to simply 'monitor' the situation as it degenerates.

Similarly, Rachel, a BBC war journalist reporting on the situation (played by Nicola Walker, who manages to look like a young, cockney Kate Adie), shockingly vocalises the West's attitude to the genocide when she compares her own reaction to what she felt when reporting the Bosnian genocide: "Any time I saw a dead Bosnian woman I thought that could be my mum - but here they're just dead Africans".

Dancy puts on an impressive performance as Joe while Hurt, as usual, provides exactly the right combination of gravitas and humanity in his role as a pretty saintly figure. Even more touching is the fact that many people working on the film are survivors who lost friends and family during the massacre.

Shooting Dogs is an astonishing and important film which everyone should go see; not only to learn about what happened in Rwanda, but to also appreciate a well-crafted, well-acted movie that examines the difficult decisions people are forced to make in extreme situations. I challenge you not to be affected by its power. *****

- Sara McDonnell

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

John Hurt and Hugh Dancy
'Shooting Dogs'
photo taken for the Telegraph Magazine -BAFTA Issue

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Government Screening of Shooting Dogs

"This is not a film you ought to is a film you MUST see."

-John Hurt talking at the government screening of SHOOTING DOGS at Portcullis House.

Last Wednesday evening, producer David Belton and John Hurt travelled to The Houses of Parliament to meet with Andrew Mitchell MP, The Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, and Stephen Carter, The Coordinator of Genocide Prevention for the All Party Parliamentary Group. Having recently returned from a visit to Rwanda, Andrew Mitchell MP, a great advocate of SHOOTING DOGS, is keen to discuss ways that he may be able to support and help raise awareness of the film.

The meeting was followed by a packed screening of the film in The Boothroyd Room of Portcullis House where MPs, Peers and NGO representatives were in attendance. John Hurt introduced the film to the eager audience, talking of the film as one of the hardest, but most rewarding projects that he has worked on during his esteemed career. He suggested that viewing the film would bring about a similar experience- not easy, and not entertaining as such, but unforgettable, hugely rewarding and hugely necessary.

"This is not a film you ought to is a film you MUST see."

Friday, February 17, 2006

Michael Caton-Jones (director of Shooting Dogs)

Born in Scotland in 1958, Michael Caton-Jones attended the National Film School in London. His directorial debut was "Scandal" (1989), which dealt with the famed Profumo spy scandal for which he won critical acclaim.

He went on to direct the 1990 film "Memphis Belle" and then "Doc Hollywood" with Michael J Fox. Other directorial credits include "This Boy's Life", "Rob Roy", and "The Jackal".

"Shooting Dogs" is a passionate project for Michael and all those who have worked on the film.

Michael Caton-Jones on-set

Michael and David Belton (producer)

Michael on-set

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Diary Six

July 20th 2004

The “stars” have arrived. Namely, John Hurt, Hugh Dancy and Claire Ashitey. They couldn’t be more different, yet all are charming and completely enthusiastic. John seems to have Africa etched on his face. He knows Africa well and his father was a priest – who better to play Father Christopher. He’s a secret smoker (“I only smoke in Africa”) and is welcoming and funny and a total professional. Hugh is young, highly intelligent and very sorted. I can see he’s thought long and hard about the film and his part of “Joe”. It’s a big role for him and he has that mixture of nervousness and confidence which will take him far. I like him and so does Michael. They get on well which will be crucial in the next few weeks. And Claire – still only seventeen and this is her first film. She’s funny and cheeky and also very smart. On her first night – away from her parents and her friends - she shows her calibre: coming down for supper, her homework for next term’s exams under her arm, she sits down and gets her books out (German and History), orders herself a vodka and tonic and starts work. Hilarious.

Claire-Hope Ashitey (Marie)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Juvens Ntampuhwena Unit Manager for 'Shooting Dogs'

'After Sometimes in April, Shooting Dogs was another experience for the Rwandan movie industry. Rwandan crew members were fully involved in the entire process. Many of us held positions of responsibility such as Casting Director, Unit manager etc. We had opportunity to sit in the management meetings, not just as observers but as advisors and decision makers. The producers and our fellow crew members from the UK, Australia and Germany paid particular attention to our comments and valued our opinions.

The film shooting was a tough yet wonderful experience. There was a good work environment with a lot of cooperation and mutual respect. There was no distinction between local and expatriate team members. Every crew member was as important. We all helped each other; we did it as a real team. “Together Everyone Achieved More”. We did a tough and tremendous job. We worked very seriously, yet there were occasions for fun.

One morning I bet with David Belton the Producer about what time the sun would rise and I ended up taking his 1000 francs! Crispin Buxton the Location Manager managed to keep a smile on his face throughout; Drew Wood the Line Producer managed to smile at least once a day.

We celebrated crew member’s birthdays, we had good times together and everything happened much faster than expected.

I haven’t yet had chance to watch the film… looking back to the scenes, I strongly believe the comments of those who had chance to watch it before me are genuine. '

-Juvens NTAMPUHWE, Unit Manager

Monday, February 13, 2006

Photo Album Update!!

The behind the scenes photos I've been posting on the site are proving quite a hit. As a special treat, today I've updated the photo album. It contains more 'making of' photos as well as stills from the film itself.


Michael Caton-Jones and some of the Rwandan crew.

Friday, February 10, 2006

John Hurt - in Photos

John gave up training as a painter at St. Martin's School for Art (London) and arrived on the stage in 1962 in "Infanticide in the House of Fred Ginger" playing the role of Knocker White. He moved to the The Royal Shakespeare Company and has since performed with them many times.

In 1962 John also made his film debut in "The wild and the Willing". He received recognition for his role in Fred Zinnemann's "A Man for all seasons" (1966). Since then, the versatile actor had performed in many films including 'Alien', '1984', 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin', 'Harry Potter' and many many more.
He also provided the voice of Aragorn in the animated 1978 version of "The Lord Of The Rings".

He was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2004 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to Drama.

And just last month he received an honorary Doctorate in Letters from the University of Hull, Yorkshire.

In 'Shooting Dogs' John Hurt plays 'Christopher', a Catholic Priest struggling to help those in need in Rwanda.

John Hurt

Hugh Dancy and John Hurt

John Hurt (all photos from 'Shooting Dogs')

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Shooting Dogs Reviews

We now have a new page on the blog so you can see reviews of the film as each preview is shown.

You can also post your own reviews of the film on this page for others to read.

Have a look and see some of the fantastic feedback Shooting Dogs is already receiving.

Shooting Dogs

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Diary Five:

June 15th.

A month to go before we film and I am meeting, once again, a senior member of the Rwandan government. Key to the success of the filming was the support of the Rwandan government. I have been fortunate to work with a brilliant journalist based in Kigali, Helen Vesperini, who introduced me to key ministers. One was particularly highly placed. Every once in a while I would meet to update him. He speaks quietly, his elongated body clad in an immaculate suit seems to almost drool over the chair. We meet regularly and publicly. It’s an enjoyable experience. He is fascinating and excellent company. And cool with it. Even the ring tone on his phone is cool – it chirrups like a distant cicada. If he takes the call his voice will disappear into a deathly whisper – probably Mtwame, the Big Chief – President Kagame. Rwanda’s power extends far beyond its relative size – such is the respect with which it is held throughout Africa for its recovery since 1994 – and this man is at the heart of many decisions.

We have become friends. God knows what he finds interesting in me. We talk about Rwanda, our wives and children, what we would do if we were not doing our jobs – normal stuff. He is our chief supporter for the film. There are some here that would rather we were not here revisiting an episode that they want to forget because they believe Rwanda must move on. My friend sees the film differently – a means of reminding the West of what happened and ensuring that the story remains in the present – a potential way to reconcile Hutu and Tutsi.

It’s a view that excites plenty of expatriate opinion on the weekends at the Umubano Hotel. Amid the “thwock” of tennis balls and the screaming chatter of small children at the pool, westerners recline on sun loungers and discuss the best way forward for Rwanda. Some think that revisiting the past and doing away with ethnic labels – Tutsi and Hutu – won’t lead to a natural, organic harmony between the two ethnic groups. But I’m not so sure. Don’t forget that nearly 30% of Rwanda had always intermarried and I trust Kagame and his ideas much more than some western bureaucrat out on a two year posting equipped with a crumpled mission statement and a badly written university thesis entitled Aid and Poverty – the Third World Paradigm.

Broiled by the long afternoon heat, Rwanda settles into luminous dusk. The hills stretch out, overlapping each other, turn milky and then, like a door shutting on a closet, Rwanda snaps into darkness.

-David Belton (Producer)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Hugh Dancy - in photos

Today I've put together a little montage of actor Hugh Dancy during filming. Hugh plays the young idealistic teacher Joe Connor in Shooting Dogs.

Hugh was born in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England in 1975. His career includes many credits in film, theatre and television. Hugh has worked on numerous projects with many directors including Sam Mendes and Ridley Scott.

You can see more photos of Hugh and behind the scenes photos of Shooting Dogs in our photo album on the right side of this page.

Hugh on set (phoning his mum)

Hugh looking rather pleased with himself with fellow actor David Gyasi who plays 'Francios'

Director Michael Caton-Jones talking about the next scene to Hugh and David who is being fitted with a mic by sound man Chris.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Our intrepid Director Michael Caton-Jones
taking a well earned forty-winks.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Diary Four:

May 31st 2004

Today is a big day. A call has come through – we are “green lit” and can proceed with the film. After two years of constant worry and fret, we really are going to make this film. And only just in time. Whilst we were busy setting up the shoot, back in the UK my fellow producer, Pippa Cross had been hard at it making sure the finance was in place so we could make the film. It was a tough process for her – trying to finalise a complicated co-production deal (film finance is more complicated than the worst trigonometry and not nearly as much fun – you get the picture) in time for the filming. Because we were on a knife edge we had to get the film made by early September before the rains came which could play havoc with filming. Every day of delay in the UK put back the filming and we were getting terribly close to a point that we would just run out of time for the shoot. We needed eight weeks to film – which meant we had to start filming by the end of July. Any later and we were stuffed. The deal was now in place – Pippa had done it in incredibly short time – a remarkable achievement (it took her six weeks to structure and do the co-production deal. People in the industry had said you need a minimum of twelve weeks. Pippa, not for the first time, proved that there was a lot of bull**** in the film business).

Understandably, the worry for our backers was how we could make a film in Rwanda – which had no film infrastructure and little knowledge about the process of putting together a major feature film. They needn’t have worried. From the moment Michael and I landed again in May we had come across a number of highly talented and motivated Rwandans who were desperate to help. To name just two: Hope Azeda, our tall, languidly beautiful casting director, who had run theatre workshops across Africa and who was confident she could find the people to act in our film, as well as the thousands who would play extras. Juvens Ntampuhwe, law student and outstanding unit manager who managed alongside our line producer, Drew Wood, the Rwandan production. So many impressive Rwandans who joined us on this strange journey – too many to mention. And then there were the British crew – motivated, determined and inspired by what they were seeing around them. Crispin Buxton, for example, our locations manager, marshalled his locations team like an army commander, sending them out into the countryside and around Kigali to find locations for Michael to film in.

-David Belton (producer)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Hurrah! Photos!

Today I've added a photo gallery to the site. The album contains stills from 'Shooting Dogs' and also behind the scenes cast and crew snaps from our time in Rwanda.

I'll be adding more as we go on so keep coming back.

Let me know what you think of the album. I'd also like to know your views on the site. Do you like it? What would you like to see on the blog? What could we do to make it better?

Keep your thoughts and views coming in and keep coming back as there's lots more to come!

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