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BBC film traumatizes Rwandan survivors

March 19, 2006 at 8:35 PM

KIGALI, Rwanda, March 19 (UPI) -- Filming of a BBC-funded movie about the Rwandan genocide has reportedly traumatized survivors with its "authentic re-creation" of horrific events.

"Shooting Dogs," funded by the BBC and backed by the Rwandan government, was filmed on location -- which aid organizations criticized as insensitive to survivors of the 1994 atrocities, The Observer reported Sunday.

The film, starring Hugh Dancy and John Hurt, shot scenes at a school where women and children were hacked to death by machete-wielding Interahamwe militia.

Genocide survivors were used as extras and crew, the newspaper said.

The violent scenes caused some students at a nearby school to suffer flashbacks and one crew member suffered a breakdown on the set, the newspaper said.

"In Rwanda, if you see a machete being wielded it doesn't matter if it's for a film -- it seems real," Mary Kayitesi Blewitt, of the British-based Rwandan charity Survivors' Fund, told the newspaper. "When the shoot was over, we had to step up trauma counseling.

"It took some people six months to overcome the anxiety, fear and paranoia."

"Shooting Dogs" is due to be screened in Kigali this month.

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