By Ogova Ondego
Published Septembe 26, 2010
Lola Kenya Screen Film Forum, a professional platform aimed at critiquing, encouraging and exploring 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, marks its 40th edition on September 27, 2010 with films from Ethiopia and Kenya on show.
Present at the all significant 40th LKSFF that is held in conjunction with Goethe-Institut in Kenya every last Monday of the month will be filmmakers from Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. brings together Goethe-Institut, Nairobi, Kenya.
MOTHER OR…by Aster Bedane Negawo revolves around a mother of two pre-school children who, together with her two children, meets a man at an Addis Ababa restaurant. But it turns out in the process of the meeting that that Desta–the woman–is more than just a mother! Running 7 minutes and 46 seconds in Amharic with English sub-titles, MOTHER OR… is a 2010 drama by Fontenina Film Production.
BREAKING BARRIERS, another film from Ethiopia, is a documentary directed by Yamrot Negussie
and produced by Ethiopia Film Initiative with the support of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation realised in 2009. Running 10 minutes, the production in English appears to celebrate ethnic diversity besides calling for inter-ethnic tolerance in Africa’s second most populous nation of 80 million people and 80 ethnic groups, identities and cultures.
“Distance brings very weak interaction with those groups in remote areas,” says Ragnhild EK, the executive producer of BREAKING BARRIERS. “Moses Riet DAK is an Ethiopian from Gambella region, currently living in the capital city, Addis Ababa. In addition to his regional mother tongue, he speaks fluent Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia. Yet, people ask him where he’s from and point to him as a foreigner.”
BREAKING BARRIERS, EK says, “was one of four films made during a workshop on socially responsible filmmaking, sponsored by UNESCO. It was organised and co-sponsored by EFI and carried out in partnership with Addis Ababa University.”
LKSFF was first held at Gothe-Institut in Nairobi on December 15, 2005 following its founding in October 2005 as part of the annual Lola Kenya Screen audiovisual media initiative for children and youth that marked its 5th edition in August 2010. The Forum brings together audiovisual media practitioners every last Monday of the month throughout the year to watch and discuss short films from Eastern Africa, exchange ideas and network
According to the Lola Kenya Screen website, www.lolakenyascreen.org, the LKSFF is held “Pursuant to one of its objectives of improving the quality of local film production and developing an audience base for the same.”
Consequently, LKSFF brings together filmmakers, film critics, film writers, students, scholars, actors and actresses, social awareness groups, cultural agencies, funders, entrepreneurs, associations, policy-makers within the governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations, and and other players with a stake in the audiovisual media sector to to exchange ideas on how to improve film production, to create a sustainable market for moving image products and services, and to look for new and sustainable models for film as both an art and a business besides networking.
So how does it work?
During LKSFF a selected local film, usually from eastern Africa, is screened followed by an open discussion based on the film as pertains to filmmaking in the region.
The films exhibited and discussions arising from them, says lolakenyascreen.org, are reviewed and published by ArtMatters.Info with a view to promoting the films; these stories are in turn picked by film festivals, media schools and international funding agencies around the world. The articles are also picked by journalists and other mass media for reproduction.
Held in conjunction with Goethe-Institut in Kenya, LKSFF was first held at its base “Goethe-Institut, Nairobi” on December 15, 2005 after its inception as a section of the annual Lola Kenya Screen audiovisual festival, skill-development mentorship programme and market for products and services targeting children and youth on October 15, 2005.
“Since then,” says lolakenyascreen.org, “every month sees film directors, producers, screen writers, journalists, mass media students, policymakers, academics, researchers, and a host of other players in the audiovisual, arts, and culture, and related fields congregate at Goethe-Institut for open discussion aimed at critiquing, encouraging and exploring ways of how to integrate film production in Kenya and eastern Africa with other socio-cultural and economic sectors in order to come up with a vibrant film industry.”
Over the six years of its existence, LKSFF has exhibited and promoted films from virtually every country in Eastern Africa.