By Ogova Ondego
Published May 8, 2013
Lola Kenya Screen, the Nairobi-based film festival, skill-development programme and marketing platform for children and youth in eastern Africa, has won the Best Foreign Documentary Film Award for her production, THE SPEAKER, at the second edition of Kidz Flicks: The Sydney International Festival of Films by Children in Australia, March 19-24, 2013.
The Lola Kenya Screen films selected by Kidz Flicks for screening were VANESSA’S DREAM, PASSION FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, MONSTERS OF THE NEW AGE and THE SPEAKER; they were all made by children and youth during Lola Kenya Screen’s hugely popular filmmaking mentorship. They were screened as part of Kidz Flicks’ Harmony Day programme.
Jacqueline Cosgrove, the Festival Director of Kidz Flicks, says, “These films were extremely popular with the children.”
Harmony Day, she says, “is an annual day of cultural respect, widely celebrated across schools, childcare centres, community groups, churches, business and federal, state and local government agencies throughout Australia.”
The theme of the 2013 celebration was ‘Many Stories—One Australia’.
Besides being shown at Event Cinemas Bondi Junction in Sydney City as part of the general screening programme (March 19-22), the Lola Kenya Screen productions were also screened as a special programme at the Waverley Library Theatre, also in Sydney, on March 24.
In this second venue, Cosgrove says she and her team were thrilled to extend the children’s experience of films made by children in Kenya, Germany, Belgium, Japan and Australia “with a wonderful workshop of African drumming from African Beat.”
Hearing the drums reverberating throughout the library building was very special, Cosgrove says. “People who had come into the building for other reasons were thrilled and delighted. Many of them danced to the music.”
Also featuring in the Waverley Library screening was an exhibition of photographs taken by Japanese children during a Tsunami that had devastated their country.
The March 2013 screenings at Kidz Flicks were yet another time that Lola Kenya Screen was making her presence felt in Australia, having had LITTLE KNOWLEDGE IS DANGEROUS, one of the initiative’s most successful animation productions competing at Bayside Film Festival in Brighton, Victoria, in 2011.
Lola Kenya Screen was in 2010 included in Children’s Celebrations, a book published by Macmillan Education Australia Pty Ltd in Victoria.
Part of Macmillan’s Celebrations series, the glossy, full colour, hard cover Children’s Celebrations resembles Macmillan’s world-famous and popular Ladybird series. It defines ‘celebrations’ as events that are held for special occasions by people all over the world.
People can read about various kinds of children’s celebrations, where and when these events take place, and how they are marked in Children’s Celebrations.
Zeroing in on the popular skill-development programmes of Lola Kenya Screen, Children’s Celebrations captures curious children making films and gazing at a film screen. Lola Kenya screen “celebrates films that are written and made by children. Lola Kenya Screen is held every year in Kenya in Africa,” writes Ian Rohr.
Though very economical on words as if living up to the saying, ‘A picture is worth 1000 words’, the book is packaged attractively with pictures of lovely children engaged in various celebratory activities. It even carries a quiz, a glossary, an index and a set of activities for the young reader.
Lola Kenya Screen was established in October 2005 as a global movement to explore, identify, nurture and present creative talent among children and youth in journalism, filmmaking, media literacy, arts appreciation, and organisation and presentation of cultural and creative events to the world.
Lola Kenya Screen has showed more than 1950 best possible films for children, youth and family from 102 countries representing all the continents in various genres, formats and lengths between August 2006 and August 2012.
A recognised and respected international brand on issues related to children, youth, mass media, culture and development, Lola Kenya Screen has been—and continue to be—presented as an example of good practice in several countries around the world.