- The story of three children who take an incredible journey together to get to Rwanda's capital city, Kigali, to audition for the opening ceremony of the 2010 World Cup.
- Debs Gardner-Paterson
- Rhidian Brook
- Sanyu Joanita Kintu
- Roger Nsengiyumva
- Eriya Ndayambaje
a joyous comedy emerging from war-torn Africa – Film Society of Lincoln Center
Three Rwandan children, football prodigy Fabrice, his best friend and ‘manager’ Dudu, and Dudu’s little sister Beatrice sneak onto a bus and set off to Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali, to audition for the opening ceremony of the 2010 World Cup….but it’s the wrong bus and they end up in the Congo. Lost in a dangerous country, without papers, money or a believable story, they are taken to a children’s refugee camp where they meet the mysterious teenager Foreman George. They decide to head straight to Johannesburg, in South Africa, for the opening ceremony. En route they are joined by escaped sex worker Celeste and together they travel 3,000 miles, surviving wild animals, the elements and gun-wielding thugs Tulu and Egg. Armed with ingenuity, determination and blind optimism, their travels – through Rwanda, Congo, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa – reveal a side of Africa few people ever see. AFRICA UNITED is a story of joy, laughter, hope and generosity – the ‘ubuntu’ spirit in which the children make this incredible journey together.
Roger Nsengiyumva, Fabrice was born in Rwanda in 1994, of Tutsi parents. His mother quickly took him out of the country, after his father was murdered in the genocide. The story of Illuminée and Roger’s escape is recounted in the book Miracle In Kigali. They now live in Norwich, Britain. Building on the opportunity of AFRICA UNITED, Roger plans to study drama. Roger has already secured his second film role, and is currently shooting in South Africa with the BBC.
Sherrie Silver, Celeste was born in 1994 in Rwanda. She moved to Britain with her mother in 1999. She has studied with the Stagecoach theatre arts school and has long hoped to be a professional actor and/or dancer. She is looking to continue her education by starting Business Studies.
Eriya Ndayambaje, Dudu was born, into the Batwa tribe, in 1995. His family, including his brothers and sisters live in a settlement on the fringes of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in the southwest of Uganda. Eriya is part of Uganda’s famous Ndere Troupe, in which he acts, dances and sings.
Debs Gardner-Paterson, director makes her feature directorial debut with Africa United. Born in Taiwan, and raised in Yorkshire, the Far East and India, she studied Literature at Cambridge before presenting Singapore’s version of ‘Match of the Day’. But her roots are in Rwanda, where her mother was born and her grandmother is buried. Her award-winning short We Are All Rwandans – co-written with Ayuub Kasasa Mago – snared the attention of producers Mark Blaney and Jackie Sheppard, leading to their collaboration on this feature.
Rhidian Brook, screenwriter wrote the BBC television feature Mr Harvey Lights a Candle and wrote episodes for two series of Silent Witness. His latest film for BBC television, Atlantis, is due to be broadcast this winter. He is currently working on screenplays for Scott Free Productions and for Pathé. He is also an award-winning novelist (The Testimony of Taliesin Jones, Jesus And The Adman). His latest book is More Than Eyes Can See: A Nine Month Journey Into The AIDS Pandemic. It is a non-fiction account of his travels with his young family through AIDS-afflicted communities in Africa, China and India.
Interview with Director Debs Gardner-Paterson