“Sweet Dreams” inspires PLU students

by Natalie DeFord, News Writer

The Pacific Lutheran University community had the chance to experience something sweet on Tuesday night, both with film and with ice cream.
The Holocaust and Genocide Studies program’s fall event served in remembrance of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda by screening the film “Sweet Dreams,” followed by discussion and an ice cream social.
“Sweet Dreams” is a documentary by Rob and Lisa Fruchtman about the only all-women drumming troupe in Rwanda. The women in the drumming troupe open their own ice cream shop in Rwanda after partnering with some businesswomen in Brooklyn. All this is done while the women in Rwanda continue to deal with the many challenges of life post-genocide.
A crowd of more than 220 people attended the screening of the documentary in the Anderson University Center Regency Room at 7 p.m.
After the film, which is about an hour and a half in length, there was a Q-and-A session with director Lisa Fruchtman, who said she was very pleased with the screening at PLU.

Sweet Dreams poster girls. Courtesy of PLU
Sweet Dreams poster girls. Courtesy of PLU

“I was thrilled to see so many people and I hope they benefited,” Fruchtman said. “It was great to see such a full house.”
Rachel Diebel, PLU junior, said the audience was very reactive. There were moments during the film when people in the crowd would dance, cry, cheer, snap, clap, hold their breath or laugh out loud.
“People should be prepared to experience the ultimate sadness but also incredible joy while watching this film,” Diebel said. “It’s an emotional roller coaster and I was not prepared for the highs and lows.”
The event’s large turnout did not dwindle as the film ended as the majority of attendees stayed for discussion and ice cream.
Kirsten Christensen, Associate Professor of German, was one of the event’s main supporters and is one of the faculty coordinators of the newly offered Holocaust and genocide studies minor.
“It’s really meaningful to me that it’s 9:15 p.m. and people are still here,” Christensen said. “This is an important reminder of what happened and the difficulties of post-genocide life.”
Fruchtman said the film’s narrative story also shows the power of saying yes.
The women in the film all had to say yes to bold or seemingly crazy ideas to get to where they are now. The drumming troupe women had to say yes, the company in Brooklyn had to say yes, and Fruchtman said she had a similar experience when deciding to make the film.
“I encourage you all to say yes to your dreams,” Fruchtman said.
More information about “Sweet Dreams” is available at
http://sweetdreamsrwanda.com.
More information about Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the new minor can be found at http://www.plu.edu/hgst/home.php

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