‘My mum left me when I was a baby, she never saw a celebration, and she’ll never see one. Oh generation of god.’ In Kinyarwanda ‘Imfura’ means first-born, the noble one, gentleman. Gisa, a young man, travels to his mother’s village. He never got to know her, since she disappeared in the genocide. Gisa wants to comprehend, to remember, so he meets those who remain. Much has changed. Various chants and rituals guide him in his search. The memory is inside him, the midwife says, has always been with him. He is not alone. He is alone however when he is suddenly forced to choose a position in a fight over an inheritance, a shell of a house. The ruins represent the visible remains of the genocide.
The film’s hybrid form, its fusion of documentary and staged material, gives it a great sense of immediacy. Imfura is the first Rwandan production to be included in the competition of Berlinale Shorts.
Maike Mia Höhne
by Samuel Ishimwe
with Moses Mwizerwa, Kijyana Yves, Nyirababikira Hadidja
Switzerland / Rwanda 2017 Kinyarwanda 36’ Colour


  • Moses Mwizerwa (Gisa)
  • Kijyana Yves (Gahigi)
  • Nyirababikira Hadidja (Seraphina)


Written and Directed by Samuel Ishimwe
Cinematography Samuel Ishimwe
Editing Samuel Ishimwe
Sound Design Samuel Ishimwe
Sound Eugène Safali
Sound Mixing Phillipe Ciompi
Producers Daniel Schweizer, Jean Perret
Co-Production Imitana Productions Kigali, Ruanda

World sales

Haute école d’art et de design (HEAD) – Genève

Produced by

Haute école d’art et de design (HEAD) – Genève

Samuel Ishimwe

Born in Rwanda in 1991, after finishing high school he worked as a journalist and photographer and attended several film workshops. His short films have screened at various festivals including Durban International Film Festival in South Africa. In June 2017 he completed a film degree at the Geneva School of Art and Design (HEAD).


2017 Crossing Lines · Imfura

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2018