Kenya film industry on the path to stardom

Ponder for a second and think of your five favourite film stars. Most will list big shot Hollywood names but hardly any Kenyan actors. This is however about to change as a major film revolution has hit the fledgling Kenyan film sector.

Last year, the box office hit ‘Nairobi Half Life’ did us proud by being worthy of a submission for the Oscar nominations. The movie tells a story of a cheery aspiring actor(played by Joseph Wairimu) who leaves his rural home for Nairobi where he gets sucked into a life( a double life for him) of crime as he runs into a local gang leader Oti (played by Olwenya Maina) who grows fond of him and enlists him in his gang.

The film is produced by ‘One Day Films’ and despite its not making the shortlist at the Academy Awards (where Oscar nominations are selected) it has still done well internationally. NHL opened the Film Africa Festival which is organized by the United Kingdom. It also showed in Germany and premiered in Los Angeles!

Although we had sore luck last year for the Oscars, all hope is not lost. A new film that is bound to create a greater wave following in the footsteps of Nairobi Half Life is rumoured to be the country’s official submission for the next Oscar nominations. From the creators of NHL, ‘Something Necessary’ is a film set out for great things. The film is about a woman, Anne, who is struggling to reconstruct her life after the violence following the 2007 general elections. Her husband was killed in the violence. It also tells the tale of a young man, Joseph, who seeks redemption and is drawn to Anne and her farm. Joseph took part in the post election violence.

‘Something Necessary’ started showing in various Kenyan cinemas in January such as the Westgate cinemax and Century Cinemax at the Junction and has received good reviews from fans. The film is still fairly new but it has started its journey to greatness as it premiered at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam, Netherlands on the 28th of January.

There is a bid from the entire film family; producers, cast and all, to support them by not purchasing pirated films. Olwenya Maina, in an interview, urged fans who have not had a chance to watch the film at the cinemas to be patient as the original DVDs will be out. Same goes for ‘Something Necessary’- watch it at the cinema or buy an original DVD.

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