Even though it’s about genocide, there’s a deeper message, isn’t there?  You wrote in The Guardian that “Rwanda’s genocide is not a far-off place: the unhinged violence, the ungraspable guilt, the profound grief are still palpable on every street, through every district, every hillside village.”
Oh, you read that?

Yes.
Well, that’s why we filmed there.  And it is about a genocide, but it’s about something much more than that. We’ve always believed that it’s about how we want to behave as human beings.  The reason people are moved by this film – they write me, they email me, they say extraordinary things – is not because we’re all standing around, waving the flag of Rwandan genocide.  It’s because [we’re] asking every member of the audience, “Do you have the courage to stand by your convictions?  What do you believe in?”  I always remember that scene in Saving Private Ryan where he asks, “Have I been a good man in my life?” which was the statement that Tom Hanks had said to him.  It’s about trying to find goodness in a very difficult place.  That’s what drama and feature films can do. 

So that’s the message of the film.
[Yes.]  It’s about doing what you can, and not just saying that it’s too difficult.  The best that you possibly can – not in a preachy way, because someone didn’t go and see their Mom last week. But that we’re all in this world together and we need to do what we can, even if we might do some things differently in hindsight.

What do you wish that you had done differently?
I don’t, actually.  Part of me wishes at the moment that I hadn’t left Rwanda.  But we make the decisions we make as human beings and at the time we make the best decision we possibly can.  Maybe if I hadn’t left, Richard and I wouldn’t have sat down and written this story, and that would have been a real tragedy.  There’s no one single act that I think of as something that I should do differently.  I think that I try and live in a way that is doing the best that I can.


Beyond the Gates opens Friday, March 9 in New York City then additional cities on March 16, including Boston, Chicago, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.  For more information, visit www.beyondthegates-movie.com.