Coexist, a documentary film which explores the agonising process of reconciliation after genocide, will be screened at LSE on Wednesday 14 September at the Wolfson Theatre in the New Academic Building at 18.30.
The screening will be followed by a panel discussion to be chaired by the film’s executive producer and director, Adam Mazo. David Russell, Director of the Survivor’s Fund, a UK-based international organisation which supports the victims of the Rwandan genocide and Dr Purna Sen, Head of Human Rights at the Commonwealth secretariat are the panellists.
Coexist looks at the painful and personal stories of Rwandan genocide survivors as they are made to try to reconcile with perpetrators being released back into their communities from prison.
Mazo told Africa at LSE that he was motivated by two factors to make this film.
“During our time shooting the movie in Rwanda we were introduced by our Rwandan colleagues to the deeply complex reality of the agonising process of reconciliation after genocide.
“Our aim in Coexist is to illuminate the experiences of Rwandans participating in this unprecedented effort to reconcile a country after such monumental atrocities. Because their stories have rarely been publicised widely, if at all, I felt compelled to try to share Coexist with the world.
“Before heading to Rwanda I had a moving experience in a classroom near Boston, Massachusetts. Secondary students recognised the power of Rwandans’ stories to provoke deep self-reflection about each person’s role in contributing to or transforming conflict.
“This inspired me to collaborate with Coexist Learning Director, Dr. Mishy Lesser, to develop an educational strategy for the film, which has as its cornerstone a comprehensive companion viewer guide for the film.
“These resources help educators teach young people about the cycle of violence, complexity of forgiveness, lust for revenge, and pathways toward reconciliation.”
This educational strategy has led Mazo and Dr Lesser to working with hundreds of young people in schools and youth groups using the movie and companion viewer guide to challenge students to reflect deeply on their core beliefs and vital issues such as bullying, scapegoating, name-calling and “othering”.
In some cases, students have been able to draw parallels between their life experiences and the situation of the genocide survivors in Rwanda, as this letter by Dr Lesser attests.
The film has not only struck a chord with youth, it has also been acclaimed by the critics.
“Coexist has received numerous accolades and critical acclaim, appearing in film festivals, academic conferences, and classrooms around the world,” Mazo said.
“Viewers say that Coexist masterfully captures the nuance and complexity of the process of dehumanisation and rehumanisation that takes place during genocide and in its aftermath.”
You can read a review of the film, Coexist.
For more information on this event or to apply for tickets, please visit the event page.