By Ogova Ondego
Published August 15, 2013
The Nairobi-based Lola Kenya Screen audiovisual media festival, skill-development programme and marketing platform for children and youth in eastern Africa is promoting African short films across the world.
Listed among ‘Top 5 Family-Friendly Culture Events in Kenya’ in 2013 by travelguideline.net, Lola Kenya Screen has since January 2013 embarked on promoting animation, fiction, documentary and experimental films running up to 30 minutes from practitioners in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, eastern Congo-Kinshasa, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Djibouti and Somalia through festivals around the world. Such films can be in any language as long as they have good English subtitles besides being “creatively packaged moving images in any genre on issues that concern Africa but are also of universal appeal.”
Lola Kenya Screen has since 2005 been catering to children, youth, family and professionals through weekly school outreach, fortnightly mobile cinema, monthly film forum, quarterly internship and annual festival programmes. The initiative puts Stress on Communication, Media and Information Literacy, and Technology (MIL/ICT) in all of these programmes.
Lola Kenya Screen, that postponed its 8th annual festival (August 12-17, 2013) due to a nationwide strike by public school teachers in Kenya, has announced that it will host the event in the Nairobi Central Business District either at the end of November or during the first week of December 2013 as public schools are set to close on November 15, 2013.
A statement from Lola Kenya Screen on August 7, 2013 had said, “The Directorate of Lola Kenya Screen is forced to postpone the eighth edition of the annual Lola Kenya Screen audiovisual media festival, skill-development programme and marketing platform for children and youth in eastern Africa that was scheduled for August 12-17, 2013”.
“Lola Kenya Screen caters to school-going children and youth, the bulk of who are drawn from public schools whose holidays are usually in April, August and December. Without a clear school calendar, it is difficult for us to plan and implement our programmes to our target audience,” the Lola Kenya screen Directorate had said.
The teachers’ strike, occasioned by a 16-year dispute over salaries of members of the Kenya National Union of Teachers, has disrupted learning in Kenya. It is also likely to interfere with the school calendar and thus with the smooth running of any initiative—like Lola Kenya Screen—that is tied to the public school calendar.
The most visible programme of Lola Kenya Screen is its monthly Lola Kenya Screen film forum (LKSff), a specialised platform for practitioners in the eastern Africa audiovisual media sector. Meeting at Goethe-Institut in Nairobi every last Monday of the month throughout the year, LKSff critiques, encourages and explores ways of integrating film production in Kenya and eastern Africa with other socio-cultural and economic sectors in order to come up with a vibrant film industry.
In 2013 and 2014, Lola Kenya Screen is working with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA)’s Kenya Youth Empowerment Project in offering out-of-school youth practical experience in the work place. Lola Kenya usually provides such experience to final year college and university students of journalism, communication, video production, graphic design and website development.