By Ogova Ondego
Published October 29, 2013
Lola Kenya Screen audiovisual media festival, skills-development programme and marketing platform for children and youth in eastern Africa returns to the Nairobi Central Business District with her annual festival for the eighth time on December 2, 2013.
Like in the previous seven editions, Lola Kenya Screen shall equip children and youth with the skills to conceive, create, appreciate, promote and consume high quality mass (primarily, audiovisual) media content that is both appropriate and sensitive to the audience and cultures of a multicultural modern society at Goethe-Institut.
Lola Kenya Screen, that is scheduled to end on December 7, 2013, has strengthened her affirmative action approach to helping grow African and Kenyan media content for children and youth as manifested in sections such as Best Student Film, Best Film by a Child, Best Kenyan Film and Best Eastern Africa Film.
Films to be shown are from Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Egypt, Abu Dhabi (UAE), India, South Korea, Bulgaria, Spain, Australia, USA, Poland, Greece, Italy, United Kingdom, France, Singapore, Germany, Brazil, Austria, and Canada.
While some films are in The films are in English, Spanish, Polish, Greek, Malayalam and Quiche, others are in Kikamba, Arabic, French and German. Still others are in Hindi, Chhattisgarhi, Portuguese and Kiswahili. Other works are without dialogue or are made in Bulgarian. Any film made in a language other than english have English sub-titles.
Full length as well as short fictional, documentary, animation and experimental works in genres such diverse geres as drama, juvenile, fantasy, western, horror, social, romantic comedy, romance, mystery, black comedy, science fiction, thriller, suspense, survival, post-apocalypcy, fantastic thriller, infomercial, docu-fiction, adventure,audio drama, controversy, grotesque, music video, and road movie shall be showcased.
As ever, Lola Kenya Screen 2013 shall explore, identify, nurture and flaunt creativity among children and youth in filmmaking, journalism, creative appreciation, event organisation & presentation, and media and information literacy between 10.00AM and 4.00PM daily.
This Africaâ€™s premier festival that is exclusively designed for children and youth is putting emphasis on interaction and networking among audiovisual media practitioners in 2013. For instance, all local filmmakers whose work is in the programme are encouraged to not just be present at the festival to interact with film lovers but to also invite their families, colleagues and friends to the celebration.
The mentors lined up to impart skills and share experiences with the children and youth in the official skills-development programmes, for instance, are all drawn from Kenya unlike the previous years where these experts came from outside Kenya.
Just what are the skills-development programmes that Lola Kenya Screen offers and why do they target children and youth?
These are practical, hands-on, learn-as-you-do training that seek to equip the generation of today and tomorrowâ€”children and youthâ€”with the skills to manage their day-to-day living even long after the festival. For example, the children and youth who pass through these programmes take the skills they acquire with them back to school and to their communities.
The skills acquired in cultural journalism or creative writing are expected to help boost the performance of participants in their class; for example, in writing English composition or Kiswahili insha or in just tackling any writing assignment.
Participants in in filmmaking class also learn how to tell stories visually and help their communities in camerawork or videography during social functions like school prize-giving days, graduation ceremonies, birthdays or other celebrations that the communities would normally have to hire someone else to document.
The organisers of Lola Kenya Screen say their mentorship programmes are aimed at equipping children and youth with the skills for fishing for themselves instead of having to rely on someone else to provide them with the fish whenever they feel hungry.
Rather than having to point fingers at others for neglecting to have in place child-friendly media, Lola Kenya Screen further says she enables the children and youth themselves to take control of their own destinies by becoming their own creative and cultural entrepreneurs. They are expected to make their own films, write their own journalistic articles, organise and present their own events, and make sense of media content for themselves as part of their civic and democratic duty.
Since her foundation in October 2005, the Lola Kenya Screen community of media educators and practitioners has helped equip 154 youngsters from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Zimbabwe with skills in filmmaking, film journalism and film criticism.
To ensure that her initiative is up to date and always relevant, Lola Kenya Screen is a member of various international professional organisations that specialise in issues related to children, youth, mass media, culture and development.