By Sarah Alaro
Published July 26, 2011
In droves of threes and fours, eager and excited filmmakers, students of mass communication and the general public, flocked to the 47th monthly Lola Kenya Screen Film Forum at Goethe-Institut in the heart of Nairobi to get a taste of Daystar University students’ film production.
Though no one ever tells you this, a university is a microcosm of the larger society in which we live. And this appears to be the base of CONTROL, a 33-minute film produced by Daystar University of Kenya. Directed by Ian Kithinji as part of students’ course work, the film–that competes for the Best Student Film Award at the 6th Lola Kenya Screen/5th Kids for Kids Festival Africa in Nairobi (August 8-13, 2011)–mirrors the traps university students can get themselves into. It is about a planned theft in a university’s finance department. Sarah, a student at the university wants to use David, a fellow student, to steal money. But as the film ends, it is difficult for the audience to identify who between Sarah and David is using the other.
The film begins by making it possible for the viewer to come up with their own conclusion on how it might end but it has its own twist which. The characters play their parts authentically, the dialogue mirroring that of young people on campus. However, the storyline is simply nothing close to what one expects when they hear the title, ‘Control’. When I hear ‘control’, I imagine a story about someone having power over the other but that is not what one gets after viewing the film.
The editing of the film is good, especially at the beginning where there is black and white that help the audience understand that either it is a scene from the past or that the mood in which the film is set is gloomy or sad.
As much as there are not so many ‘aha!’ moments in the film, I think it is worth watching for just about everyone. This is one of the seven films in the Best Student Film Award competition at Lola Kenya Screen. The others are PLUMM by Andrzej Dybowski, Pawel Blakala, Jakub Kosakowski,Krzysztof Jedrzejek, and Przemyslaw Patyk of Drimagine School in Poland; WYCIECZKA and JUTRO both by Bartosz Kruhlik of PWSFTVIT in Poland; SUNSET AT DAWN by Grace Ng’ang’a of the National Youth Talent Academy in Kenya, ORGANS by Asha Mwilu of the United States International University in Kenya; and TWIST & BLOOD by Kuba Czekaj of Poland.
While WYCIECZKA (The Trip) is 1 13-minute film starring a 13-year-old girl on excursion with her grandfather who teaches her how to drive a scooter and shows her the beauty of nature, JUTRO (Tomorrow)–running 13’30”–revolves around an old woman’s typical day and appears to impart the knowledge that one never really knows what ‘tomorrow’ has in store for one.
Kenya’s SUNSET AT DAWN and ORGANS tackle sexual relationships and illicit trade in body organs, respectively.