Rwanda film-makers criticised by genocide charity

Surf, the Rwandan Survivors Fund, has criticised the producers of the film Shooting Dogs for not providing enough emotional and physical support for survivors of the genocide involved in the filming.

The film, which opens on Friday, is set against the massacre at L'Ecole Technique Officielle, a Kigali school. Some 2,500 Tutsis sheltering there were among the million killed in Rwanda in 100 days in 1994.

The film was shot on location in Rwanda, including at the school, with survivors working as crew and involved as extras.

Mary Kayitesi-Blewitt, director of Surf, welcomed the film's role in raising awareness, but said: "When Shooting Dogs finished filming, we had to set up trauma counselling. It took some survivors six months to overcome the anxiety and paranoia."

She added: "We believe production companies behind such films have a moral obligation to make a contribution to the organisations that undertake this counselling, which are vital to providing the emotional support for survivors."

Pippa Cross, the film's producer, said the company, CrossDay Productions, had arranged for two trauma counsellors to be present on set, but it turned out that more were needed. She said it was now working with Surf and grass-roots survivors' organisation Ibuka to prepare for the premiere of the film in Kigali.

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