Anne Aghion impact

Outreach & Impact

Impacting Communities

THE GACACA SERIES comprises a trilogy of one-hour films and a final feature-length companion. The one-hours are: GACACA, LIVING TOGETHER AGAIN IN RWANDA? (2003); Emmy-winner IN RWANDA WE SAY… THE FAMILY THAT DOES NOT SPEAK DIES (2005), and THE NOTEBOOKS OF MEMORY (2009). The 2009 feature, MY NEIGHBOR MY KILLER, was at the time one of the rare documentaries honored with a spot in Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival.

As works of film, THE GACACA SERIES has won awards and international acclaim from film and television critics. But, because they hold a unique distinction as the first long-term look at a society after conflict, THE GACACA SERIES also give important new insight into the lasting emotional effects of mass violence in any community — from American neighborhoods plagued by gang rivalries to countries emerging from conflict. Now in the collections of scores of university libraries, the films have been included in the curricula of courses ranging from trauma studies to human rights law.

Their most moving impact has been in Rwanda, where they have been part of NGO staff training, screened for officials at the highest levels of government, and used to prepare tens of thousands of confessed genocide killers for being sent home after years in prison. Now, with the Gacaca tribunals officially ended in 2012, the films will continue to serve as the basis for community discussions around the country.

In 2011-12, Anne Aghion spearheaded the establishment of IRIBA CENTER For Multimedia Heritage in Kigali, a place where all Rwandans have free access to the country’s audiovisual history dating back to before the genocide. After completing the first phase of international fundraising with a Kickstarter campaign and development grants, she handed over the reins to Iriba’s Executive Director, Assumpta Mugiraneza, and as Co-Founder and Honorary President, is now the organization’s international “Goodwill Ambassador.”

In 2013, the Institut National de l’Audiovisuel (INA), the organization charged with preserving and providing access to France’s audiovisual history, acquired the 350 hours of footage Anne Aghion shot in Rwanda between 2001 and 2009. According to Michel Raynal, Deputy Director, Heritage Collections, “These recordings, compiled with persistence, and made completely outside of the context of breaking news, contribute to the development of common memory. It is precisely within INA’s mission to collect, safeguard and provide access to this memory for new purposes, be they professional or scientific. Taking on this archive was an obvious decision.” The footage was made freely accessible to the people of Rwanda and is available at the IRIBA CENTER.

Anne Aghion’s films on Rwanda have also been used by scholars in numerous articles and citations.

Selected Articles​

“Gacaca, la dynamique des images”, in Revue d’histoire de la Shoah, Ed. Georges Bensoussan. Journal published by the Memorial de la Shoah, Paris, Issue No. 195, pp. 295-307. July-December 2011.

“Mon Voisin mon tueur,” in XXI (Vingt et Un), a French news and culture quarterly, illustrated by Sergio Aquindo. No. 6, pp. 130-141. Spring 2009.

“Living Together Again, In Rwanda.” in Considering Forgiveness, Ed. Aleksandra Wagner with Carin Kuoni, Matthew Buckingham, pp. 140-149, Published by Vera List Center for Arts and Politics, The New School. 2008

Selected Citations

“Genocide Lives in Us – Women, Memory, and Silence in Rwanda.” Jennie E. Burnet. The University of Wisconsin Press, 2012.

“Are You a Vulture? Reflecting on the ethics and aesthetics of atrocity coverage and its aftermath,” by Pratap Rughani. Chapter 5 of Peace Journalism, War and Conflict Resolution. Eds. Richard Lance Keeble, John Tulloch, Florian Zollmann. Published by Peter Lang Publishing, 2010.

“Localizing Transitional Justice, Interventions and Priorities after Mass Violence,” Eds. Rosalind Shaw and Lars Waldorf, with Pierre Hazan. Stanford University Press, 2010.

“Traditional Justice as Transitional Justice: A Comparative Case Study of Rwanda and East Timor,” by Amy Senier, in PRAXIS: The Fletcher Journal of Human Security, Vol. XXIII, 2008.

“The Book of Calamities, Five Questions about Suffering and its Meaning,” by Peter Trachtenberg. Little, Brown & Company, 2008.

“Rwanda’s Failing Experiment in Restorative Justice,” by Lars Waldorf, in The Handbook of Restorative Justice: A Global Perspective. Eds. Dennis Sullivan and Larry Tifft. Psychology Press, 2007.

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