Sandrine Nizigiyimana, the woman who devoted her life to the cinema

Sandrine Nizigiyimana is both a filmmaker and a film actress. In 2015, after she graduated at the University of Lake Tanganyika in Social Communication, she got interested in cinema. During this year, she produced her very first film entitled “Ejo ni heza” (Tomorrow is better). Sandrine produced so far other films namely “Ebenezer”, “Umugore w’ubwenge”(The intelligent woman) and “Buzoca” (It will be the day), Umukenyezi w’isezerano (Woman of Destiny), Ubuto (Childhood), Maboko 1000 (1000 Hands), Intwari (The Leader), and Igihushane (The contrary). Today, Sandrine owns an online TV called Wise Woman approved by National Communication Council. She is the head of the commercial, communication and marketing department at the Investment Bank for Youth (Banque d’Investissement pour les Jeunes-BIJE). 

Sandrine got interested in theater at the age of 10. She becomes a theater actress in her church, Eglise Evangélique des Amis. She grew up with an ambition to become a playwright one day. “At the Christmas party or during the crusades, I used to write plays”. She therefore discovers that it is a talent that God has put in her. “I must use it to serve the world.”

Today, Sandrine is a proud filmmaker. She considers cinema to be part  of her life. She says it out loudly and proudly,“Cinema is my life”. Most of his films advocate women. She explains the reasons. ” I’m a woman. My blood is 80% female. My stories are then for women”.

Lover of art and literature

At secondary school, Sandrine was given the scientific section in boarding school. She found out that it’s not worth going there. In love with art and literature, she wants to study the Modern arts section. She enrolled at the Lycée Central Saint Gabriel located in Ngagara in Quarter 7 in the north of Bujumbura City. The theater remains her main concern, always at church.

Towards the end of her university studies, she will opt for cinema. “I saw that at the end of my studies, I have to do something for survival”. She thus wrote her first film in 2015. She asked for support from her former friends at university and from members of her church. “After its production, we had a profit of three more than the amount used”, she tellssmiling.

What memories of the cinema !

 “At home, they used to call me TV. I always made them laugh ». She remembers how one day they had a little childhood game at home. « Everyone had a role of such an animal. I was a rooster. At 5 o’clock in the morning, behind the door, I crowed a cock-a-doodle-doo like a rooster. When dad came to see this rooster that made my sisters laugh, he found outit’s me. He whipped me

Nevertheless, Sandrine mentions how her sisters as well as their mother love the 7th art. “Me and all my sisters, we are real actresses. We like to play day at the theater with mum”.

According to Sandrine, her goals in the cinema is to transmit positive values ​​to a general public. “I have the zeal to tell how I feel to a lot of people, especially good things to make them happy”, she explains.

Each of her films has a message to convey. For example, “Ejo ni heza” (2015): After studies, you should not neglect a job, even a small one because tomorrow will be better. “Ebenezer” (2017): couples without children, be strong, stay in love despite the mockery of your neighbors or your families.“Buzoca” (2020): despite the problems will preserve because one day the sun will rise. »

What does Sandrine talk about FESTICAB?

 “It’s an event that fits well with my talent. I have had a lot of knowledge in the field of cinema thanks to FESTICAB. I also got to know different personalities from different countries who have experience in this 7th art”.

Can one make a living from the cinema ?

Yes, but it depends. We have to put in a lot of effort and resources to achieve this. Me, not yet. But, I still have hope because, as they say, to want is to be able. And as a hustler woman, I must continue to reveal to the world that I have an inestimable value that comes from the sweat of my forehead. I am determined. Nothing can prevent me from growing. “Ejo ni heza” (Tomorrow is better) is called my first film.”

Is it easy to produce a film, especially in Burundi?

” No way. Personally as a woman of childbearing age with all my responsibilities, it is very tiring work. I would give an example for my first cinema. I was 4 months pregnant. There is a scene where I should jump up. Distracted, I did it. Also, there are still shoots that last all day. There, I have to go with my baby to breastfeed him when he needs to nurse. Sometimes, it happens that he asks that in the middle of the stage. We stop first and then continue after he is satisfied.

What can you tell those who want to get into film production?

Making movies is not easy as some people think. It is hard work. However, it benefits a lot and provides a good life withthose who put all their time and efforts into it.”

Sandrine Nizigiyimana is the winner of the “best idea” prize of 2017 awarded by the Agency for the Promotion of Investment, API. “My idea was the production of audio-visual films. ». She is also the third winner of the third edition of Shika Award 2021 organized by Burundi Business Incubator, BBIN.

It is worth mentioning that Sandrine worked at the Burundian Agency for Rural Electrification as a communication officer and she was awarded on May 1st, 2021 a certificate of merit by the Minister of Hydraulics, Energy and Mines.