|Article by Ogova Ondego
Published August 19, 2007
Israeli films made away with the two main awards at the closing ceremony of the second Lola Kenya Screen as eastern Africa’s only film festival for children and youth experienced a 7.5% growth in attendance, 29.1% in film submission, 24.3% in number of participating countries, 60% expansion of participation in the four official programmes, and 100% growth in production workshops. OGOVA ONDEGO reports.
GIBORIM KTANIM (Little Heroes), a 76-minute feature film by Itai Lev cruised past Jony Arbid’s 51-minute RINGO & TAHER in a blistering neck-to-neck dash to win the Lola Kenya Screen’s main prize, the Golden Mboni, at Goethe-Institut auditorium in the evening of August 11, 2007.
Though bruised, MY DATE FROM HELL, a 14-minute animation film directed by Tim Weimann and Tim Bracht of Germany, got away with the Bronze Mboni. It was also ranked the best short film by the jury of the festival comprising Esther Njeri, Jaycy Wali, Mina Ogova, Adima Mesa NyOdero and Phoebe Akinyi Ahoya whose age range is 9-16 years.
Winning the Creativity Award at the ceremony presided over by Kenya’s Director of Culture Silverse Anami and child rights activist Catherine Mumma at Goethe-Institut in Nairobi CBD was LITTLE KNOWLEDGE IS DANGEROUS, a five-minute animation film made by Samora Michelle, Adede Hawi NyOdero and Karama K Ogova. This was one of the three 5-minute films made during the second Lola Kenya Screen film production workshop facilitated by Maikki Kantola of Finland for Project ANIMA of Denmark. Other films made during the six-day workshop were THE WISE BRIDE and OGRE IN THE VILLAGE.
The five-member Children’s Jury described GIBORIM KTANIM as having “a well built story structure that takes the viewer on a magical and unforgettable journey as the child protagonists set out to save injured youth stuck in a vehicle that has plunged into a river.”
The jury said of RINGO & TAHER, “A little boy’s dream to own a dog in an environment that does not accept dogs is fulfilled when he finds a puppy and decides to raise it on his own; the bond of friendship that develops between the two is warm and infectious.”
On the Bronze Mboni award-winning MY DATE FROM HELL, the jury said, “If you think the devil has to be an evil, sinister and scary guy, you will surely change your mind after you have joined him on his search for the girl of his dreams because when it comes down to love even the devil has a soul. The moral in this film is that one must be cautious in life lest one falls to the wiles of the world”
More than 200 films from 46 nations were showcased during the six day audiovisual media fest in eastern Africa that also held a workshop for youth (19-25 years) on producing television drama for children. Fifteen participants attended the workshop facilitated by Josephine Karani who heads the Children, Youth and Women production unit of Kenya Broadcasting Corporation Television. Karani had stepped in when Susanne Rieschel of Germany’s ZDF fell ill at the eleventh hour and could not fly to Nairobi.
The second Lola Kenya Screen witnessed a 7.5% growth in attendance and 29.1% in film submission. Attendance jumped from 4000 to 4300 people while film submission grew from 216 to 279. The number of countries submitting films, too, grew by 24.3% down from 37 in 2006 to 46 in 2007.
Instead of one production workshop, two were held. This represented a 100% growth. The number of children participating in the official programmes;Jury, Press, Presentation, Production,grew by 60% down from 25 to 40. And they represented the rich cultural and economic diversity of Kenya. Children of Asian, European and African descent and from lower and upper economic status family mingled freely as they watched films and served in the various programmes of Lola Kenya Screen.
Polled on what they didn’t like about the festival, most people said “Everything has moved smoothly and nothing went wrong, and I haven’t seen any disappointment about Lola Kenya Screen.”
So what would festivaliers like changed about Lola Kenya Screen?
Why?”Because I enjoyed making films, Lola Kenya Screen has uplifted our talents. The festival has entertained, educated and informed us, I liked the films and the messages they conveyed to us”, were some of the answers received from participants polled by the Children’s Press on the final day of Lola Kenya Screen.
On what they would change if given a chance to run the festival, surveyed participants indicated they would extend the festival period from six to at least 14 days!
By whatever yardstick any one uses, Lola Kenya Screen 2007 whose popularity and growth has been phenomenal since its inception in October 2005, was a resounding success.
Lola Kenya Screen also received goodwill from governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations in Kenya.
Among those whose presence graced the second Lola Kenya Screen film festival, production workshop and market for children and youth in 2007 were film directors Jakub Barua and Amit Tyagi, Mexican Embassy officer Jorge Celis, child rights lawyer and advocate Millie Odhiambo-Mabona of The CRADLE Children’s Foundation in Kenya, several guest artists from Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda and several media practitioners including but not limited to BBC, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, Visual Works, Nation Media Group, Royal Media, Standard Newspapers, People Daily, Nairobi Star, Kenya Times and Children’s Press of Lola Kenya Screen.
Lola Kenya Screen 2007 was presented by ComMattersKenya in conjunction with Goethe-Institut in Kenya. Other partners were ArtMatters.Info, ArtMatters Critics Guild, Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development, Danish Film Institut and The CRADLE Children’s Foundation.
The next edition of Lola Kenya Screen will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, August 4-9, 2008.
Full List of Lola Kenya Screen 2007 Awards