|Article by Bobastles Nondi
Published May 23, 2008
The world has yet again scrambled for participation in the Lola Kenya Screen audiovisual media initiative for children and youth in eastern Africa. By the close of April 15, 2008 film entry deadline, some 300 films had been received from all the seven continents. BOBASTLES NONDI reports.
Barely in its third year, Lola Kenya Screen continues to attract international giants in children’s media productions as well as first timers. While many of the films received have won awards at international film festivals for children and youth, most of them are premiering in Africa. Many other films on offer, mostly those produced in 2006, 2007 and 2008, will be competing for the Lola Kenya Screen Golden Mboni that has gone to ZLYDNI by Stepan Kopal of Ukraine in 2006 and Israeli Itai Lev’s GIBORIM KTANIM (Little Heroes) in 2007.
The countries represented include are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Burkina Faso, China, Colombia, Congo-Kinshasa, Denmark, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Scotland, Senegal, Serbia, Spain, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, USA, and Zimbabwe.
The films submitted represent various genres, lengths and formats. Documentaries, Animation, Short Fiction, Comedy, Drama, Educational and Features are all represented.
The languages used in the films include English, Kiswahili, Sheen, Luganda, Nepali, Thulung Rai, Tamang, Tamasheq, Russian, Sinhalese, Polish, Hindi, German, Portuguese, Afrikaans, Kinyarwanda, French, Wolof, Greek, Danish and Finnish.
With the theme of this year’s festival being “Children, Youth, Conflict and Democracy: Can the Role Models Stand Up?”, the current and future generation of humanity in eastern Africa has responded enthusiastically by applying for participation in the official Lola Kenya Screen’s official skill development programmes”Film Selection Committee, Film Jury, Festival Press, Event Presentation, Film Production Workshop”in the largest number ever. Though targeting children and youth in Nairobi and its environs, applications have still come in from all over Kenya and even Zambia, Uganda and Zimbabwe!
In Kenya, Nairobi Province has the biggest number of applications. This could be attributed to the fact that Nairobi city is where the festival has been hosted in the past two years, and that children and young people in Nairobi are more exposed to information and therefore more enlightened in terms of dreams, goals and career choices. Central, Rift Valley, Nyanza, Western and North Eastern provinces follow closely in that order.
The youngest applicant is seven years old, with the oldest being 26 years. While 80% of the applicants are girls, 50% are interested in journalism and 34% in film production workshop. Some 22% and 14% of the applicants are interested in programme presentation and film jury, respectively. Almost no one No one appears to be interested in the film selection committee!
Lola Kenya Screen has worked with more than 50 children and young people since 2006, training them in or giving them first-hand exposure to filmmaking, appreciation of audiovisual works, journalism and events presentation.
“We pride ourselves in the resourcefulness of the experts who facilitate the processes, and who are sourced from Kenya and other parts of the world,” says festival director and founder Ogova Ondego. “This year, we are looking forward to a more educative process, and more productivity in all the components of the festival.”
Besides its own expanded programmes, Lola Kenya Screen 2008 is also hosting the continental Kids for Kids Africa competition, an initiative of the International Centre of Film for Children and Youth (CIFEJ).
The third edition of Lola Kenya Screen holds in Nairobi during the second week of August.
Meanwhile AFRICAN FOLK TALES ANIMATED, the compilation of three-film and three-song DVD made by children and youth during the 2nd Lola Kenya Screen in 2007 continues on the international film circuit as more invitations come in for it. The latest invitation is from the London Film Festival for Children that takes place in November 2008. This DVD has already been screened in Finland, Rwanda, Belgium, Uganda and Germany.
Produced by Lola Kenya Screen, these films-that were made by children aged 9-15 years during the 2nd Lola Kenya Screen film production workshop (August 6-11, 2007)-that premiered at Lola Kenya Screen on August 11, 2007 have since been shown on KBC Television.
The inaugural Lola Kenya Screen production”FILMS BY CHILDREN FOR CHILDREN”won the Grand Prize at the 5th World Summit for Media and Children in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2007. Since then, there has been no looking back for Lola Kenya Screen that is an annual international film festival, production workshop and market focusing on children and youth in eastern Africa and holding in Nairobi every second week of August.
FILMS BY CHILDREN FOR CHILDREN was shown in Kenya, Poland, Senegal, South Africa, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, and Holland, among other countries.