|Article by Kenneth Owino
Published October 9, 2007
It’s a known fact that we all love watching movies, cartoons, films and television in general, but has any one ever wondered how a cartoon movie or simple film is made? I, like everyone else, wondered how it is all done until I participated in the second Lola Kenya Screen international film festival for children and youth in Nairobi, Kenya, August 6-11, 2007.KENNETH OWINO reports.
I got to know about Lola Kenya Screen from a friend and visited their office from which I learnt more about the film festival and applied for the position of an assistant in the production workshop for children. Previously I had never worked in production or media house; the closest I had come to doing this was in class as I am a mass communication student.
The international film festival, now in its second year, was open to every one to come watch films for children and youth. There was so much to see and learn and what was particularly interesting and commendable was the fact that it was all a children’s affair, that is to say, everything was handled by children. The adults only chipped in to assist or facilitate. For this reason the festival was divided into four sections: children’s jury, children’s press and children’s film production workshop, and children’s programme presentation (MCs).
I was stationed at the children’s film production workshop; I therefore didn’t interact much with the other departments. The workshop was a beehive of activities. In my words, it was where all the action was. Anyone who visited it definitely came out knowing a thing or two about the nitty-gritty of filmmaking. I learnt the various processes and stages a film goes through before its screened, to my surprise I discovered it takes a great deal of time, resources, patience and team work to make a film.
It’s also here that I met Maikki Kantola, a filmmaker from Finland. She was the facilitator at the workshop. With her guidance and help the children were able to make three films of which two were screened at the closing ceromy.The films were titled “The Wise Bride”, “Manani the Ogre in the Village” and “Little Knowledge is Dangerous”. My favourite among them was “Little Knowledge is Dangerous”.
I was happy to see the outcome of our hard work and I must thank and applaud facilitator Maikki Kantola, my fellow production assistant Pauline Otieno and all the children for a job well done.
What I really liked about the festival is the fact that it gave me a golden opportunity to use sophisticated recording equipment as I was charged with the responsility of sound recording for the characters, background music and other sound effects for the three films. This was the most interesting part of the festival for me. As a student it gave me an opportunity to apply what I have learnt in class. The festival also exposed me to the challenges of filmmaking and production in general.
Another thing that was quite impressive was the fact that the festival brought together children and youth from different backgrounds and cultures. This enabled the children to interact, learn and appreciate the diversity of cultures in our country which goes a long way in cultivating mutual co-existence and tolerance which our beloved country greatly needs.
It was however discouraging to note that the disabled were not represented in the festival but I rest assured the organisers will put this into consideration next year. But the director of the event, Ogova Ondego, explained that Lola Kenya Screen is an open event to which everyone is free to participate; that one needs no invitation to attend.
I noted that some areas needed improvement, chief among them being time management. So much time was wasted especially during lunch as everyone outside the four official programmes arranged for his or her own meal.
I would further suggest that the festival run for a longer period because the six days were not enough this was quite evident in the sense that the third film was not completed and there was no time for certificates to be awarded to the participants especially the children who performed exemplarily well.
The festival was well organised save for a few hitches here and there some that could not be avoided. I can say without a shadow of doubt that the festival was very successful bearing in mind that Lola Kenya Screen is only two years old. I can only imagine what we can do given more time and support from the Government, private entities and other well wishers. The sky is not the limit as we are reaching for the stars. I am certainly waiting for next year’s event with bated breath