The Atrocity of Genocide Depicted in Beyond the Gates
By Jill Mangino



It has been a long time since I watched a film and felt angry, angry because it was based on a true story that was hard to swallow. Beyond the Gates (Fox Home Entertainment) depicts a massacre that occurred during the 1994 Rwanda genocide at the Ecole Technique Officielle — a secondary school in Kigali that was being used as a U.N. army base. This tragic and horrific event could have been prevented had the U.N .declared the genocide an actual “genocide” — a mere matter of semantics could have saved the lives of 2,500 innocent Rwandans; declaring “genocide” would have legally obligated the U.N. to intervene. Instead thousands of Tutsis were abandoned and murdered; men, women and children were left to die.  

How could this happen? And why does it take films like this to enlighten us to these situations... something that is currently happening in Darfur?

In Beyond the Gates (originally released as Shooting Dogs), Oscar® nominee John Hurt and Hugh Dancy give powerful performances as a Catholic priest and an idealistic young teacher who find themselves caught in a literal and spiritual crisis during the 1994 Rwanda genocide. They have to choose whether to stay with thousands of Tutsis seeking protection in their school, or to flee to safety via the “whites-only” U.N. rescue operation. Shot on the same locations where the depicted massacre took place, the producers also included crew who themselves were survivors of the atrocities. Trauma counselors were on standby on the film set.

Producer and writer David Belton, was a journalist covering the genocide for the BBC in 1994, during a recent interview I asked him “Why was there so much indifference to this situation  from the international community?” He said “I think that if Rwanda had oil the genocide would not have ever happened.” Director Michael Caton-Jones admitted that he was only aware of the headlines when approached to direct the film “Like many people I was completely ignorant to the situation in Rwanda.” Through the making of the film he admits, “It became more of a cause for me... the process of making this film changed me for the better, I opened my eyes about Africa and about human nature.” Belton adds, “The film is not just about Rwanda but is really about all of us and how we behave, if we want to make right choices or wrong choices?”

Beyond the Gates ultimately asks “What would your risk to make a difference?” In my mind and heart it posits “When will human lives become our most precious commodity?”

Visit:  to find out ways you can make a difference and ensure this NEVER AGAIN happens!  Beyond The Gates, the critically-acclaimed and award-winning independent film, is now available on DVD from Fox Home Entertainment.

Jill Mangino is a freelance writer and the President of Circle 3 Media.

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