Filmmaker and Prosecutor to Discuss Documentary on Rwanda Genocide Trial in Screening at Ithaca College

ITHACA, NY — The director of a powerful documentary about the trial of a respected former priest accused of participating in the Rwanda genocide will be joined by the trial’s prosecutor for a showing and discussion of the film at Ithaca College.

Beate Arnestad’s “Telling Truths in Arusha” will be screened on Monday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m. in Textor 103. It is free and open to the public.

“Telling Truths in Arusha” follows the case of Father Hormisdas, who was put on trial by a United Nations tribunal 15 years after his alleged involvement in the 1994 Rwandan massacre. Prosecutor Brian Wallace vigorously pursues the case but with little hard evidence, the Norwegian judge has to base his judgment solely on testimony from witnesses — and their versions of “the truth.”

Arnestad handles the subject with deep sensitivity as she follows the legal processes that seek to bring about justice after genocide. Unique courtroom access makes this a documentary of rare insight.

A lively discussion with Arnestad and Wallace, moderated by associate professor of politics Peyi Soyinka-Airewele, will follow the screening.

Arnestad worked for over 20 years at the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation NRK, where she produced and directed content for both the entertainment and documentary departments. Her first documentary, “Where the Waves Sing,” traced the life of a former painter and governor in the forgotten Danish-Norwegian colony Tranquebar in India. While living in Sri Lanka from 2003 to 2006, she started exploring the concept of women in war, which turned into the film “My Daughter the Terrorist.”

This screening and discussion are taking place in conjunction with a class on International Human Rights Litigation being taught at the college this spring by School of Humanities and Sciences scholar in residence Sonali Samarasinghe, who was one of the subjects of Arnestad’s most recent film, “Silenced Voices.”

A lawyer and journalist who focused on government corruption in her native Sri Lanka, Samarasinghe fled the country with other members of her family in 2009 following the assassination of her husband. “Silenced Voices” tells the story of the civil war in Sri Lanka from the point of view of journalists who have faced threats for exposing war crimes, corruption and massacres of civilians.

The screening and discussion are sponsored by the Ithaca College Honors Program, with cosponsorship from the Departments of Politics and Writing.

For more information, contact Sonali Samarasinghe at

"Telling Truths in Arusha" will be screened on Feb. 11