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'Shooting Dogs' stars defend grim film

March 31, 2006 at 8:30 PM

LONDON, March 31 (UPI) -- "Shooting Dogs" star John Hurt defended the Rwandan genocide movie at its London premiere as a "brilliantly crafted film."

Hurt portrays a priest who witnesses the 1994 slaughter of Tutsi refugees by Hutu warriors at a school complex in Kigali, Rwanda. The production came under fire from human rights organizations while filming on location, for re-creating the horror of the event with actual survivors working on the set.

Hugh Dancy, who plays a teacher in the low-budget British production, said the response the film received during its screening in Rwanda earlier this week was "amazing," the BBC reported Friday.

About 1,500 people watched the film at Kigali's soccer stadium.

"All responses were bigger so there was more laughter, but you could also hear people weeping," he said Thursday night. "Afterwards there was total silence and then there was this overwhelming sound of people wanting to talk about it."

Hundreds of Rwandans, including survivors of the genocide, appeared as extras in the film.

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