Rwandan actress Jennifer Haylen talks career, Homecoming

Rwandan actress Jennifer Heylen is back in Rwanda for the first time in 15- years. Not knowing that she will be one of the best actresses in Belgium, she was unexpectedly asked to cast for a short film.

“I ventured into film accidentally when a friend of my friend was looking for an actress of color for his short film since we don’t have many in Belgium. I did the casting and got accepted, and I never stopped working ever since,” Jennifer told The New Times in an interview.

From Jennifer’s experience, it is a good thing that the film industry in Europe wants to tell more different stories in terms of diversity and it is important to have the right actors to do that, making her acting career opportunities wide open.

Coming back home

Jennifer, now 30, visited her home country in December 2023, where she came to shoot a film documentary which is a Belgian project. However, she didn’t want to disclose more about the documentary which, she said, will be showcasing different parts of Rwanda.

The New Times

The work visit left a lot of emotions in the actress exactly from the moment she landed at the Kigali International Airport, 15 years after she had last been in her hometown.

“The last time I was in Rwanda, I was only 15 and I don’t think I could understand the beauty of my country. As soon as we landed, it all came back. I can relate the smell, how beautiful our people are and especially the landscape,”she said.

Reuniting with her family, favorite cousins made her realize how much she missed home.

Jennifer is an emerging talent in theatre, short films, and feature films. She has quickly made an impression with her acting performances.

In the theater, Jennifer recently starred in the memorable production of “Messia” by Dimitri Leue, for which she was nominated for the prestigious Best Acting Performance (- 35 years) award at the Theatre Festival.

Her ability to captivate the audience with the story was praised by critics and colleagues in the theater world.

On the silver screen, Jennifer has showcased her talent in the short film “Klette” by Michael Abay, winning three awards, including Best Actor at International Short Film Festivals of Leuven, Brussels, most notably Aspen (US).

The New Times

In addition to her work in theater and short films, Jennifer has also played in international feature films, including “La Vie Pour Du Vrai” by Dany Boon. She also plays as Neema in the heart-wrenching feature film “Muganga” by Marie-Hélène Roux besides being one of the lead actors in the long-awaited Lionsgate series “Northern Lights.”

Jennifer aspires to leave a lasting impression on both the big screen and the stage. She is dedicated to versatility and the ability to immerse herself in every character fueling her ongoing success in theater, short films, and feature films.

Source : Newtimes Rwanda

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