Joël Karekezi was born on December 12th 1985 in Gisenyi, Rwanda. He graduated in 2008 and got his degree in directing after following online courses at the cinema school Cinecours. He produces then his first short feature film, The Pardon (Le Pardon) in 2009. The Pardon is shown in several festivals around the world. He wins the Golden Impala reward at the film festival of Amakula (Uganda) and the best short feature film award at the Silicon Valley African Film Festival (United States) in 2010. Then he decides to develop his first long feature film called Imbabazi: The Pardon. In order to write the scenario, he collaborates with Casey Schroen from the Columbia University in United States. He obtains a development grant from the international film festival in Goteborg (Sweden). Moreover, he won the NILE GRAND PRIX 2014 at the Luxor African Film Festival and the “BEST DIRECTOR” award at the International Images Film Festival For Woman 2014.
In 2012, his screenplay for The Mercy of the Jungle won the “best promising project” award from Canal France International (CFI) during the Marché du Film de Durban and the scenario award at the Luxor Festival. He was also selected at Cannes for “La Fabrique des Cinémas du Monde” 2013 and takes part in the “Open Doors” program in Locarno and also in the Atelier Grand Nord (Canada).