The 18-week film submission period for the Nairobi-based Lola Kenya Screen audiovisual media initiative for children and youth in eastern Africa came to a close on April 15, 2010 with countries across the six continents submitting their films. The submission period that opened on December 1, 2009 has received films from Croatia, Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kosovo, Latvia, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Serbia/Nepal, Singapore, Spain, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, UK and USA. BETHSHEBA ACHITSA reports.
The 2010 edition of Lola Kenya Screen has seen Kosovo, Malawi, Singapore and Tunisia participate for the first time.
“A particularly strong interest in the festival has been registered from Spain and Nigeria,” says Lola Kenya Screen director Ogova Ondego. “We expect to have received more than 300 entries from at least 50 nations around the world once all the submissions still on the way are received in Nairobi.”
The films will undergo a month-long scrutiny through a panel of the Lola Kenya Screen film selection committee that comprises children, youth, filmmakers, film critics, journalists and other stake holders in the audiovisual media sector. The committee is mandated to go through the films and select those that meet all the Lola Kenya Screen requirements.
Ondego explains that for a film to be selected, it has to “speak positively to children of diverse backgrounds and cultures and should provide strong role models for both boys and girls. The action of the film should be child-driven and the stories should be culturally authentic, timely, and of universal appeal. Additionally, the films or videos should either be made BY, WITH and FOR children and youth rather than ABOUT children and youth.”
Does Lola Kenya Screen reject any entry?
Yes, Ondego says: “We don’t accept films that demonstrate excessive or gratuitous violence, nudity or profanity; or those that advocate and support racial, cultural, religious or gender bias.”
But focus will be on who will win the festival’s topmost prize, The Lola Kenya Screen Golden Mboni Award for the best children’s film. No African nation has ever taken this prize since 2006 when the festival began. It has gone to Ukraine (2006), Israel (2007), Sweden (2008), and Italy (2009). The 14-Plus Award for the Best Youth Film that was introduced in 2009 went to South Africa. Will 2010 be any different?
This being the fifth edition of the annual event Lola Kenya Screen, that operates on the premise that the audio visual media should create opportunities for children and youth, will not only screen films but also enlighten society about the media. In the week-long celebration of creativity, arts, film and culture that is scheduled for August 9-14, 2010, the festival will introduce an hourly seminar on Media Literacy to enlighten the public on the opportunities and threats the mass media present to society.
And as is tradition the festival shall host her annual skill development programmes to nurture the creative talents among children and youth in areas of film production, cultural and creative journalism, events organisation and presentation, and the appraisal of the arts. Through this annual expedition Lola Kenya Screen has since 2006 equipped 47 children with basic skills in filmmaking, 19 in creative journalism, 9 in events presentation, and 17 on how to critically appreciate creativity in general and film in particular.
In 2009, Lola Kenya Screen showcased more than 250 films during the six days of the festival that ran August 10-15. The Golden Mboni Award for the best children’s film went to Io Parlo of Italy with the silver and bronze going to The Happy Duckling of Scotland and Pamela of Kenya, respectively.
In 2009 Lola Kenya Screen introduced the 14-Plus Award for the best youth film. South Africa’s uGugu No Andile took away this inaugural prize, while Norway’s A Beautiful Tragedy and Kenya’s From A Whisper took away the second best and third best youth film prizes, respectively.
“Only film content that is creative and demonstrates artistic and technical mastery competes for the Lola Kenya Screen Golden Mboni Award for the Best Children’s Film and the Lola Kenya Screen 14-Plus Award for the Best Youth Film,” Ondego says.
Lola Kenya Screen, whose motto is ‘Keeping films for children and youth in focus’, showcases only creatively packaged audiovisual media content of various genres, formats and lengths with a view to exposing the audience to a diverse serving aimed at cultivating a film-going culture in Kenya and eastern Africa.