By Bethsheba Achitsa
Published June 24, 2011
The diverse cultures of 102 countries are set to spring to life during the 6th annual Lola Kenya Screen/5th Kids For Kids Festival Africa in Nairobi, Kenya (August 8-13, 2011). In all genres and formats, more than 250 films that reflect on the day to day lifestyles of the various peoples of the world shall be exhibited to children, youth and family.
As travelogues serving as a window into the lives of other people, films transport our imaginations into the world of the unknown, evoking in us the feeling of magic and excitement. Lola Kenya Screen, that has come to hold a special place in the August school holiday of children and youth in eastern Africa holds, it is unlikely to disappoint judging from its impressive programme line up that caters for children aged as young as three-and-a-half years.
The films lined up for exhibition address themes as diverse as love, friendship, betrayal, and the ups and down of economic meltdown. But the variety of films do much more than just being informative and entertaining. Films like REFREN PER KOSOVEN (Requiem for Kosova) and UPAASMAR: THE TASTE OF HUNGER will leave the audience with a lot of things to ponder about. While the emaciated faces of hunger-stricken infants in the latter set in India is likely to leave viewer with a bad taste in the mouth, REFREN PER KOSOVEN questions the commitment of the United Nations to the wellbeing of Kosova. The two films may not relate in any way, but the messages they put forward is clear. While Dhimitri Ismailaj’s REFREN PER KOSOVEN uses a dramatic style, Ajay Saklani’s UPAASMAR: THE TASTE OF HUNGER is a documentary.
From the world where management of the day-to-day affairs of nations seem to be on the spot, from Madagascar, Mamihasina Raminosoa and Andriamanisa Radoniaina suggest that young people are victims of a world full of poverty and hardship that offers them a limited range of options. In their 59-minute fiction film, they view lack of role models as a reason why the youth lack direction in life. This is why their main characters ‘Nirina and Vola’ are found in the circumstances that befall them in DZAOMALAZA. In her early teenage, Vola finds herself pregnant after a short-lived affair with Dzaomalaza, a rich drug trafficker, in return for a cellphone.
As if in response to Mamihasina Raminosoa and AndriamanisaRadoniaina suggestion that lack of role models for young people leaves them lost in the world, Beatrix Mugishagwe highlights some of the outstanding women in Africa that young people the world over can look up to. The six part series, UNSUNG HEROINES, focuses on the lives of six women in the area of politics, art, sports, medicine, science and show business.
But in ICH BIN EINE TERRORISTIN/ (I am a Terrorist) will young people learn what it means to believe in oneself and know they have a task in changing the world. The 97 minute child driven drama is about a young girl who believes she is the true Rosa Luxembourg’s ,a Marxist, theorist, philosopher economist and activist of Polish Jewish descent heir. Her wish to experience the world and explore what way an 11-year-old can change it will be fulfilled will provide young people with a better example of what way they can lead a better life.
And as the festival is all about seeking, discovering, nurturing and flaunting creative talents among children and youth, the films will provide the thrill and fun that most children look forward to during their August school vacation. The skill-development mentorship programmes that equip them with skills in filmmaking, cultural journalism, critical appreciation of film, media literacy and organization & presentation of creative and cultural events (Emceeing). The 2011 programmes will for the first time conduct stand-alone screen acting and screen writing workshops.
Additionally the festival will hold the second meeting for independent audiovisual media producers that aims at lobbying for better working conditions for practitioners in the eastern Africa region. This is a follow up to the 2009 first summit held in Nairobi, Kenya where producers from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia met and came up with the Nairobi Declaration, a comprehensive report on the audiovisual media sector of the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa region.
Find Lola Kenya Screen at lolakenyascreen.org, facebook.com/LolaKenyaScreen, twitter.com/LolaKenyaScreen, and youtube.com/Lolakenyascreen