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Page last updated at 17:01 GMT, Friday, 15 October 2010 18:01 UK
Roger Nsengiyumva stars in Africa United

Roger was cast after the film's producer spotted him in a local magazine

A Norwich teenager is being catapulted to fame on the silver screen after being spotted by chance.

Roger Nsengiyumva stars in Africa United, which charts the adventures of a group of Rwandan children on their way to the World Cup in South Africa.

The 17-year-old fled the Rwandan genocide when he was just nine days old with his mother Illuminee after his father John was killed.

Their story was featured in a magazine which was picked up on by the producer.

Mark Blaney was struggling to find someone to play Fabrice, the lead character for his new film, when he came across a local article while spending Christmas at his mother-in-law's house in Norfolk.

"My mother-in-law loves to keep clippings and magazines for me," he said.

"I thought it's Christmas Eve, I'll have a quick look at this magazine at the top of the pile and there was Fabrice staring back at me - not only does he look right, he's the right age, he plays football. Could it get any better!"

The Norwich City College student describes the film as happy-go-lucky despite it touching on some hard-hitting issues.

"It's a really nice family film," said Roger, "But it doesn't disguise the problem that Africa has at the moment: child soldiers, sex slaves and AIDS.

"People are aware of that but I think Africa United puts that out in a different way."

The movie will be shown for the first time in Britain to a sell out audience at the London Film Festival on Sunday, 17 October 2010, before going on general release across the UK five days later.

Roger's lucky screen break is already leading to new roles, having just secured a part in a BBC drama.

In 2004 Roger and his mother were taken back to Rwanda by BBC TV regional news magazine programme Inside Out.

Country profile: Rwanda
04 May 11 |  Country profiles




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