The African Studies Program at the College of Charleston is commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide with a film festival called "Looking Back and Moving Forward."

If you go

WHAT: "Looking Back and Moving Forward," a film series on the Rwanda Genocide. A Q&A will follow each screening. Films contain graphic violence.

WHEN: 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, April 15, 16

WHERE: Room 227, Addlestone Library, 205 Calhoun St.

COST: Free

MORE INFO: 953-4884

An estimated 800,000 people were killed in the span of three months beginning in April 1994 after the plane of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down as he returned from peace talks in neighboring Tanzania. Long-simmering tensions between the Tutsis and Hutus erupted in violence.

Since 1994, the people of Rwanda and many more have struggled to come to terms with the genocide and its aftermath.

A special series of four films will provide local viewers the opportunity to learn about the genocide from a variety of perspectives.

The series begins Tuesday and Wednesday with two 2004 documentaries, "Ghosts of Rwanda" and "Shake Hands With the Devil."

Both films examine the lethal convergence of social, political, cultural and diplomatic factors that enabled the genocide to occur.

"Ghosts of Rwanda" attempts a comprehensive account while "Shake Hands With the Devil" focuses on the specific case of Romeo Dallaire, the Canadian commander of the small U.N. force already in Rwanda in April 1994, and the failure of the U.N. to provide requested support that might have prevented the genocide.

The series continues on April 15 and 16 with two feature films, "Sometimes in April" (2005) and "Kinyarwanda" (2011). The first, directed by Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck and starring Idris Elba, who played Nelson Mandela in the recent "Long Walk to Freedom," tells the story of two brothers, one a journalist, the other a captain in the Rwandan army.

"Kinyarwanda," produced by Ishmael Ntihabose and directed by Alrick Brown, casts a light on a little-known aspect of the genocide: that the Mufti of Rwanda, the most respected Muslim leader in the country, issued a fatwa forbidding Muslims from participating in the killing, thus making mosques places of refuge.

All screenings are at 4:30 p.m. in room 227 of the Addlestone Library, 205 Calhoun St.

A Q&A session will follow each screening.

The films include some graphic representations of violence and therefore are not suitable for children.