For many Americans, it's impossible to imagine what life in the African nation of Rwanda is like. Maybe you know of its war-torn past and the Rwandan Genocide that killed nearly a million people as depicted in dramas like the Don Cheadle-fronted Hotel Rwanda, Shake Hands With the Devil, Sometimes in April with Idris Elba or Hugh Dancy's Beyond the Gates. But nearly 20 years have passed since this atrocity ripped the country's sense of community apart, and now is the time for a new story to emerge from Rwanda, one full of hope, joy, and inspiration. All of the above can be found above in the trailer for the documentary Sweet Dreams.
This doc centers on a remarkable group of women who wished to drum in a new era in Rwanda, so they started a drum circle, defying conventions that only men may play the instrument. But literally making beautiful music together as Ingoma Nshya was only the beginning of their journey to unite their fractured homeland. The second bit was sweeter. Here's Sweet Dreams official synopsis:
Ingoma Nshya is Rwanda’s first and only all women’s drumming troupe. Made up of women from both sides of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the troupe offers a place of support, healing and reconciliation. When the group decides to partner with two young American entrepreneurs, Jennie Dundas and Alexis Miesen of Brooklyn’s Blue Marble Ice Cream, to open Rwanda’s first ever ice cream shop, these remarkable Rwandan women embark on a journey of independence, peace and possibility. Sweet Dreams interweaves intimate, heart-wrenching stories with joyous and powerful music to present a moving portrait of a country in transition.
Directed by Academy Award-winning editor Lisa Fruchtman (The Right Stuff) and celebrated documentarian Rob Fuchtman (Sister Helen), Sweet Dreams is about the tricky process of turning a group of performers into a group of entrepreneurs who can break ground on an ice cream shop unlike the world has ever seen before.
As an American who considers ice cream an essential in my home, I have to admit it's wild to realize there are other places where the simple dessert is considered an exotic treat. "We've seen it in movies," explains one local when asked about his thoughts on ice cream, and my mind is blown. Of course, who couldn't love ice cream? You can see the elation on the faces of the children and women as they taste what they've created. And just like that it's easy to believe its makers claim, "It will change your life!"
Sweet Dreams will open in New York on November 1st, and in Los Angeles on November 29th.