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“Reflection” on Rwanda

Sophia Gant ’16 has wanted to study film since she took a cinema course during her sophomore year of high school, and over the past year she has become particularly passionate about film festivals. “I think festivals are the best places for challenging, unusual, or smaller films to find an enthusiastic audience,” she says.

This summer, she has had the opportunity to explore her new interest as a press and communication attaché for the Rwanda Film Festival in Kigali, Rwanda. The self-designed internship is sponsored by Haverford’s Center for Peace and Global Citizenship. Gant says she was drawn to the Rwanda Film Festival because, unlike many other festivals, the primary focus is not marketing the films. Instead, Gant says that the festival is “all about the power of art to create social unity.”

This year’s theme, “Reflection,” facilitates a dialogue between films that address both historical and contemporary social issues around the world. Since 2014 marks 20 years since the Rwandan Genocide, the festival will also feature a retrospective on Rwanda that explores the relationships between the country’s past, present, and future. The festival’s traveling “Hillywood” program will bring screenings of primarily domestically-produced films to local audiences.

As a press and communication attaché, Gant is responsible for a variety of tasks: contacting Rwandan and international publications in order to generate media interest and publicity; writing synopses, updates, and articles on the festival website; and creating Facebook events in order to estimate festival attendance.

“I'm really happy to get a first-hand look at the decision-making—both artistic and logistical—that goes on behind the scenes,” she says. Gant, who is a comparative literature major, says she plans to pursue a career in film—possibly in the curatorial side of festivals.

—Sam Fox

The Strawbridge Observatory at Haverford College houses 12-inch and 16-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes which are actively used by students in Haverford astronomy classes.

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