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Alanna Brown's ‘Trees of Peace’ Shares Revelations From Female Rwandan Genocide Survivors

ES Staff  |  Indie Dramas

Four ladies from various backgrounds are featured in the movie, which is about the Rwandan genocide, as they cooperate to hide in a crowded storage room.

The movie, which was based on actual events, doesn't back away from the atrocities that the ladies had to go through; on the contrary, writer and director Alanna Brown claims that this is what first drew her to the story.

Brown came across several accounts of survivors of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda while researching an article for an online magazine about a commerce venture in that country. She discovered more information about the women who had the horrific experiences while she was getting ready for an interview.

In a recent interview with Shadow and Act, Brown said, "I was just so inspired by the stories of survivors, individuals hiding in limited areas, and just the resolve to endure really floored me, I just found it so stunning."

"And after doing some research, I discovered that Rwanda still has the highest proportion of women nominated to government positions of any nation in the world... that blew my head completely, she added. "As I would tell folks along the way, it was something that no one had ever heard before. I was unfamiliar with it.

She eventually became inspired to start Trees of Peace by a combination of details about potent, strong women. I was extremely inspired to make the movie by the tales of survival and the determination to live as well as the woman's perspective on the events.

Brown made a conscious effort to ensure that African women were portrayed as the roles. She said, "Having African women portray the roles was incredibly essential to me. The primary actor in the movie is from Rwanda and was able to travel here to shoot on a work visa.

It wasn't simple for Brown to complete the circle as an independent filmmaker, but her determination and curiosity not only led her to the tale but also paved the way for it to be distributed on one of the top streaming services in the world.

“I can't emphasize [enough] how difficult it is to produce an independent movie,” she said.

Brown's passion for storytelling was really stoked by Ava DuVernay's career trajectory, especially after finding out that the Queen Sugar creator made her debut movie on a $50,000 budget.

I can only hope that in the act of pursuing my work, in the act of telling this tale, in the act of creating this film, and in the act of persevering all these years, that I can hopefully be an Ava DuVernay to someone else, she said. "So that when somebody else hears my tale, they may say, 'Oh, she did. I am capable. Because at the end of the day, we are all simply people. You'll succeed if you have the motivation and tenacity.

Netflix now offers Trees of Peace for streaming.

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