While some Berliners were watching Keanu Reeves on a huge screen at the Potsdamer Platz, a nearby press conference for Hotel Rwanda
turned to more pressing matters. This film about the real-life story of a Kigali hotel manager who saved a thousand lives durning the Rwandan genocide in 1994 has been nominated for three Oscars.
Writer/director Terry George (writer of In the Name of the Father) was asked what he thought of the Berlinale's penchant for putting political films in the limelight. "I hope there is a political interest. My main reason to do this project was the enormous avoidance of the subject by Hollywood cinema, which I was trying to correct. Initially I was writing a film about the Liberian civil war because I was so inspired by the courage of some civilians. In the middle of that, my agent sent me a script by a former Rwandan hotel manager called Paul Rusesabagina. I wanted to show the pain and the hope that can be generated by that kind of disaster. Hopefully films like Hotel Rwanda will help people realise what's happening in Darfur."