By Daisy Nandeche Okoti
Published November 1, 2014
Kenyatta University’s film training programme was in focus as Lola Kenya Screen, Nairobi’s longest running and most consistent film platform, celebrated nine years of its film screening, discussion and networking forum on October 27, 2014.
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Shown and discussed during the 80th monthly Lola Kenya Screen film forum were short student films: SHOES by Caroline Kitili, SOMEONE by Faith King’ola, BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE by Charity Moraa, DEEP END by Levis Isoe and THE LUCKY ONE by Eric Maina Mwangi and Njoki Kiroga.
IMONDO, a music video with a spiritual message directed by Deejay Msalaba of Kenya and THE LYING GOAT, a children’s fairy tale by Andrzej Kukula of Poland, set pace for the frenetic evening of film and networking!
“The fact that the forum screens a mix of works ranging from good films to not-so-well-done work is an encouragement for me,” said David Kariuki, a film editor and a regular attendee at the forum since its inception in 2005. “One of the main things I take away from each meeting is motivation and the will to dare do.”
Another regular attendee, Godwin Otuoma, said LKSff “is something that the film industry in Kenya is largely benefiting from.This forum provides us with a platform for networking. It is a place we come to tap knowledge from one another that we use to improve our work.”
Faith King’ola, the director of SOMEONE who attended the forum for the first time termed it as ‘educative and insightful to the audience’.
“The constructive criticism I have received here today has no doubt set the pace for the rest of my filmmaking career. This is a necessary forum. Criticism is important,” King’ola said.
King’ola’s colleague, Eric Maina Mwangi, also a first timer to the monthly event, said that it is a good initiative that gives filmmakers a platform on which to test their work before releasing it to the public.
“Attending this forum has left me challenged. It had made me realize that there are so many things that I thought I knew about films but which I don’t. I will become a regular attendee of this forum,” Mwangi said.
LKSff, one of the five programmes of the Lola Kenya Screen (LKS) audiovisual media festival, skills-development programme and marketing platform for children and youth in eastern Africa, has since its inception nine years ago been held at Goethe-Institut in Nairobi every last Monday of the month.
Held with the aim of critiquing films, encouraging filmmakers and exploring ways of integrating film production in eastern Africa with other socio-cultural and economic sectors in order to come up with a veritable motion pictures industry, LKSff is often one of the first places where new films can be seen and young talent spotted.
Among the people whose films have been shown and discussed at LKSff are Kenyans Ng’endo Mukii, Wanuri Kahiu and Judy Kibinge; Ugandans Caroline Kamya, Winnie Gamisha and Irene Kulabako-Kakembo; Tanzanians James Gayo, Martin Mhando, Jerome Kimaro and Mwangaza Kang’anga; Rwandans Thierry Dushirimana and Eric Kabera; Ethiopians Yamrot Negusie and Aster Bedane; Congolese Petna Ndaliko Katondolo; and Zimbabwean Saki Mafundikwa.
During LKSff a selected local film, usually eastern African, 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 are reviewed and published by ArtMatters.Info with a view to promoting the films; the stories are 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.
LKSff has over the past nine years screened 130 films from 16 countries and served an audience of 7 213 audiovisual media players—actors, journalists, critics, writers, students, scholars, researchers, funders, festival organisers, and policy-makers and other players with a stake in the motion pictures sector.
Besides LKSff, LKS also conducts school outreach, mobile cinema, internship, festival and media and information literacy programmes throughout the year.
Paying tribute to “our friends and partners across the world as we mark our ninth anniversary since opening our humble door to the public in 2005” during the 80th LKSff , Lola Kenya Screen foundr Ogova Ondego told the gathering: “Thanks to you, our friends; we are because you are!”
Ondego said Lola Kenya Screen helps in building and/or boosting the profiles of the artists “whose work we showcase in our weekly, fortnightly, monthly and annual events through our own media platforms and those of our partners, especially ArtMatters.Info. We also help in building the capacity of our moderators, MCs, planners and other volunteers.”
LKSff is presented by ComMattersKenya in collaboration with Goethe-Institut.