The Lola Kenya Screen film festival for children and youth in eastern Africa that is scheduled to run at Goethe-Institut in the heart of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, August 10-15, 2009, has announced her film line up.
Some 315 films in 33 languages from 50 nations spread across the globe were submitted to the festival which will be held on the theme, The circle… After a critical scrutiny of the submitted films by the Lola Kenya screen committee that comprises children, youth, filmmakers and stakeholders in the audiovisual media sector, 22 films were approved to compete in the 4th Golden Mboni Award competition for the best children’s film while 12 others will battle it out in the newly introduced 14-Plus competition for the best youth film.
Over the past three years that Lola Kenya Screen festival has been held, only films for children aged 6-13 years were eligible to contest for the Golden Mboni Award, the festival’s top most prize.Â However, the festival organisers have in 2009 introduced the 14-Plus competition to cater for the many other good films that are always locked out of the competition.
Films that did not make it to the two categories will be shown under seven other categories that have been carefully created to ensure better visibility of all films that have been selected.
The seven include Kids For Kids Africa Festival Competition, Films by Students, Films by Youth, Eastern Africa Prism, World Panorama, Television Series, and Special Focus.
Among the films that will compete forÂ the 4th Lola Kenya Screen Golden Mboni Award include, KUR PALUDISÂ ELVIS/Finding Elvis (Latvia), DELROY KINCAID (Canada), FOR A FISTFUL OF SNOW (Switzerland), FREDEIKKE (Denmark), HAMMERHEAD (UK), IO PARLO /I’ll Tell on you (Italy), IZULU LAMI/My Secret Sky (South Africa), MAN HAM HASTAM/I Exist (Iran), MUSEN/The Mouse (Denmark), EL REGALA DE LA PACHAMAMA/PachamamaÂ (USA), and POLO (Burkina Faso).
KUR PALUDISÂ ELVIS is a 78-minute fictional film directed by Una Celma; it is an amusing and almost annoying re-telling of how children are ignored by the adults in their lives. It features parents who are ever busy working (My dad works 24 hours!) or the ever smiling adults who, to them, everything the children say bears little or no meaning and can only be smiled at even when the situation is serious such as the disappearance of a child.
South African Madoda Ncayiyana’s IZULU LAMI, that has been on the international festival circuit, is also competing for the top prize alongsideÂ POLO by a young Burkinabe director, Claver Yameogo.
In the 14-Plus competition, Wanuri Kahiu’s FROM A WHISPER(a film that recounts the 1998 terrorist bombing of the US embassy in the heart of Nairobi)is among those that will contend for the top prize alongside South Africa’s GUGU AND Â ANDILE, a tragic story set in South Africa against the backdrop of ethnic violence.Â When Gugu, a 16-year-old from a Zulu speaking family falls in love with Andile, an 18-year-old Xhosa youth, their love is not only frowned upon but also opposed by both communities. To what extremes does their love push them to? Are they ready to give up their feelings just because their society thinks otherwise about them?Â Based on Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, GUGU AND ANDILE is a film about love, death and reconciliation.
As Lola Kenya Screen does not screen any film for the sake of it, the 2009 edition is certainly not going to disappoint filmmakers who visit film festivals for the purpose of getting new ideas and learning from fellow filmmakers. A rich variety of documentaries that uphold the creative aspect of the motion pictures will be screened.
A BEAUTIFUL TRAGEDY, a 58minute documentary from Norway, highlights the pain that those who dream of becoming ballet dancers go through in the Russian society. David Kinsella, director and producer of the film, uses minimal interviews and more enchantingly eliminates the traditional narrator and thus letting the girls whose youth is sacrificed by the desire to become ballet prima tell their own story. The jealousy that develops among the students, the intolerable tutor who–to many may not have been a ballerina herself–make the film all the more enchanting to watch.
BABALWA’S STORY, another documentary highlighting the painful past that belies the radiant face of a
22-year old woman ‘a victim of rape, nay defilement!’ living in a slum in Cape Town, South Africa, has done away with the traditional narrator and it is the journey of her life told through the lens of the camera.Â High quality cinematography, well-built story lines and more interesting aspects of film that many long and desire to witness in documentaries are fully catered for in the documentaries that will be showing at the festival.
For the second time, Lola Kenya Screen will host the third edition of Kids For Kids Africa Festival (KFKAF) competition, a project of the International Centre of Cinema for Children and Young People (CIFEJ) of which Lola Kenya Screen is a member.
Alongside showcasing films, Lola Kenya Screen will hold the annual workshops that equip children and youth with skills in filmmaking, cultural journalism, events organisation & presentation, and arts appreciation.
Children and youth interested in participating in the Lola Kenya Screen skill-development workshops can still apply as a few vacancies are still available.