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    judy kibinge

    I am writing about our latest documentary Peace Wanted Alive and a recently published Art Matters piece on it. I somehow doubt you have had a chance to watch the piece because I doubt you would allow ArtMatters.Info online to publish a piece on the film by someone who shockingly seems to have no idea about the difference between feature and documentary film.

    The first shocking thing about the piece is the critics total ignorance about the techniques of documentary film. Archive reconstructions are a HUGE part of documentary filmmaking anywhere in the world. Many Award Winning documentary films globally use archive to piece together the past events. Archive doesnt lie – whereas reconstructions obviously can. What made Peace Wanted the MOST challenging piece of work we have ever done is the fact that it required us to find so much never-before-seen footage. We had to look not in only obvious archives like KTN and NATION, but also dig up young freelance filmmakers from the slum to present a never before seen reconstruction of what happened during the violence. This seems to totally have escaped the writer who mentions previous fictional films I’ve done and ather naively praises them for being “better” unaware of the fact that comparing dramatic flim to documentary film is like trying to compare oil to water or chalk to cheese.

    We at Seven Productions are secondly absolutely astounded at the way that by the article wilfully discounted the eyewitness accounts of the seven selected protagonists on based on the actions they took during the violence and also their roles as young community leaders. These Protagonists came from all tribes and all live in the hotspots where violence peaked in Nairobi. Only ONE was a KIkuyu. The key point the film was making wasnt their tribe or who they supported but WHAT THEY DID and continue to do for their communities before during and after the violence. The writer seems to be demanding that we bend or twist the truth as we record it to suit his imaginary version of events.

    Propaganda is what he called the film, but Propaganda is actually what he would have had us produce.

    The most worrying thing of all is the writer had an opportunity to interview all the protagonists at the films screening at Alliance Francaise in December 2009. If the writer is a serious critic or journalist, why didnt they bother to speak with me personally after the screening to probe my techniques, or even better, interview these protagonists, almost all of whom were present during the Human Rights screening which he stormed out of? Why didnt they stick around to ask Solomon Miundo, Nick Omondi and Mohammed “Soundboy” Abubakar why they told me the stories they did and even more important, to ask them whether I had indeed coerced their accounts from them or not? I am still happy to give him their phone numbers of ALL the interviewees for him to have private interviews with all of them to ask them how I met them, how I conducted the interviews and so on. I hope he takes this offer up, because no true journalist would reject the opportunity to substantiate and choose not to.

    I would appreciate it if you could forward these questions I have to him. I am very curious for the motivations he might have for such an ill-informed attack. I would also like a chance to not only write an article for Art Matter on the Making but perhaps even attach a link to the film (once it has been screened on TV) so that all readers are able to watch the film and judge it for themselves. If I am wrong and the article is right, then I am MORE than happy to let the readers and viewers decide for themselves… is the writer?

    Best Wishes,

    Judy

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