By Margaretta wa Gacheru (posted March 28, 2018)
The second edition of the Nairobi Film Festival took off last Tuesday night at Prestige Plaza with the Kenyan premiere of Likarion Wainaina’s Berlinale award-winning feature film Supa Moda.
Last year when Sheba Hirst took the brilliant initiative to organize the first Nairobi Film Festival, she also had the chance to premiere a Kenyan film, Mbithi Masya’s ‘Kati Kati’ which went on to win numerous awards.
But this year, the Festival is premiering no less than three Kenyan films. There’s Supa Moda, produced by One Fine Day Films and Ginger Ink; Philippa Ndisi-Hermann’s documentary film on Lamu entitled ‘New Moon’ and produced with assistance from DocuBox; and Tosh Gitonga’s ‘Disconnect’, a Nairobi-based romantic comedy that will be screened this coming Sunday night from 7pm.
Otherwise, this year’s Nairobi Film Festival has as its theme Contemporary African Cinema. That’s to say, the criteria used for selecting which films would be screened this time round were Afro-centric. As such, all the films being shown during the festival have an African director, a largely African cast and have been shot primarily on the African continent.
The Festival ends this Sunday so there is still time to see films made everywhere from Burkina Faso (‘Walley’, today from 12:30pm), South Africa (‘Vaya’, today from 5pm), Mali and Guinea Conakry (‘Wulu’, Saturday from 7:20pm), Liberia (‘Silas’, Sunday from 5pm), Swaziland (‘Lilana’, Sunday from 12:30pm) and Zambia (‘I am not a witch’, Saturday from 5pm) as well as Kenya (‘Watu Wote’).
‘Watu Wote’ will be one of a number of film shorts and animations which will be shown tonight from 7pm in collaboration with DocuBox and the British Council.
One will also have a second chance to see ‘Supa Modo’ on [Ms1] Saturday afternoon from 1pm if you missed it opening night. It’s a charming yet bittersweet story about a little girl (played by newcomer Stycie Waweru) with a terminal illness but a gigantic imagination and large love for super-heroes.
Written by a team including Mugambi Nthiga, Silas Miami, Wanjeri Gakuru and Kamau Wandugu, ‘Supa Modo’ had generated a big buzz even before it had its World Premiere in February at the Berlinale Film Festival.
Back in November last year, the world sales rights were already acquired from Tom Tykwer, the German founder of One Fine Day Films by another German film firm, Rushlake Media which had previously acquired ‘Kati Kati’ as well.
But besides the festival offering Kenyans the chance to see some of Kenya’s finest new films, they will also get to watch cinema by award-winning African filmmakers like the Swiss-Burkinabe Bernie Goldblat, the British-Zambian Rungano Nyoni, the South African Akin Omotoso, the Kenyan-Canadian Anjali Nayar and the Kenyan-German Hawa Essuman.
So for those who feel that it’s time to get out of the rut of just watching movies made in Hollywood, Bollywood, Britain or Hong Kong, now’s the time to catch up on seeing some of the best new African films that are by and about Africans who live right here on the continent.