Mark Kaigwa

Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

“Makmende Returns” – Hilarious new Just A Band Video

In Film on March 17, 2010 at 7:56 am

This had me laughing hysterically. A must watch. A must share.

The new Just A Band video. Directed by Jim Chuchu and Mbithi Masya

Starring Kevin “K1” Maina, Patricia Kihoro, Mbithi Masya, Kibugi Wamae, Mugambi Nthiga, Renee Sewe, Kwame Oddenyo, PA Okaalet, Kevin “K2” Maina, Moses Wataka, Lucille Kahara and Diana Nduba.

It’s the song “Ha-He” from their 2nd Album 82 – Just A Band – An Experimental Boy Band.

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Kibera Kid

In African Filmmaking, Film on October 20, 2009 at 2:49 pm
Screen shot from Kibera Kid, Nathan Collett's ... 

As part of the continuing series on African Filmmaking, we look at a film that’s made acclaim in both filmmaking and development in Nairobi’s Kibera Slum.

We’re looking at Kibera Kid this time. A short film revolving around the choices that people have in Kibera, and one young boy’s choice to change his fate.

Otieno, a twelve year old orphan living in Kibera, Kenya, Africa’s largest slum,  lives with the Razors gang, his substitute family.  Otieno has to choose between a life of crime or redemption. KIBERA KID was shot entirely on location in Kibera, with a cast from Kibera. KIBERA KID has won seven international awards, including the prestigious student EMMY, has been screened at 38 international film festivals and has been featured by media throughout the world.

 

Nathan Collett, the film’s Writer/Director/Co-Producer studied African History at Stanford University, California, USA and completed his Post-Graduate degree in Film Production (MFA) at the University of Southern California Film School. Nathan was a Fulbright scholar (2006-2007), researching storytelling in Nairobi slums.

From this, he founded Hot Sun Films and it’s non-profit arm Hot Sun Foundation, both located in Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya. Hot Sun Foundation started the Kibera Film School to train youth in all aspects of filmmaking. Through filmmaking and cultural exchange, Nathan hopes to change the world’s impressions of Africa. And so far, with the progress Togetherness Supreme is making, they’re getting there.

Hot Sun Films is currently producing the follow up the 12 minute short, Kibera Kid. The first-ever feature film made in Kibera, TOGETHERNESS SUPREME, a story of hope and reconciliation. It’s a fictional feature film made through screenwriting workshops with over 50 young residents of Kibera and examines the events related to the 2008 post-election violence. It’s positive message and unique approach are sure to bring it success similar to the 7 Awards that Kibera Kid was awarded including a 2007 Student Emmy for Best Children’s Film. It’s also been covered extensively by Reuters and The BBC.

A Teaser for the film is out on Youtube and you can keep up with Hot Sun Films on Youtube here

The film’s cast all come from the Kibera Slum and are a part of the Hot Sun Foundation’s initiatives to bring sustainable development projects to Kibera. So far, they’ve kept a pretty detailed log of how things have been going as far as the filming and production of the film on their About Page. They’re shooting on a RED Camera, they’re the only ones at the moment with the RED One camera in East Africa. The first Kenyan film to be shot on a RED was Judy Kibinge’s short film The Killer Necklace a couple years ago.

A great film and an awesome initiative, it’s amazing to see this kind of dedication to developing Kibera, which will finally be known for something other than what’s been making the news recently: Slum Tourism. I can’t wait to watch Togetherness Supreme and all the other films that will come from the Kibera Film School.

 

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The Dance for Wives by Paul Ekuru

In Film on October 5, 2009 at 11:00 pm

As part of a series of posts on African FilmmakingUkwelii and The Eumagine Factory will be looking at East African Film in the region both those that have been in circulation for a while, and some new content in the region.

Eumagine is doing some great things including the amazing concept for EumagineTV (I found out about them via Twitter) and whatever insight I can lend towards shining a bit of light on the East African Filmmaking industry, I’d be glad to.

In this first instalment of the series, we look at Paul Ekuru’s trailer for his short film The Dance for Wives – who you can fan on Facebook here. Paul Ekuru’s a good friend of mine and a director I respect. He came out of the Maisha Film Lab with this screenplay and got it to shootable and actually shot it. He attended the Maisha Film Lab at the Kenya International Film Festival (I was another one of the participants) and his screenplay was selected from 8 screenplays.

Shooting, he was respectful to all cast and crew and went well out of his way to make sure everyone and everything was well taken care of. A mark of character that will definitely see him succeed in this industry, I believe.

He’s since had the film screened at the Zanzibar International Film Festival and was nominated for two Kalasha Award for Best Short Film (That award went to Judy Kibinge for her short film The Killer Necklace) and for Best Leading Actress – Karen ‘Kaz’ Lucas.

The Poster for the Nairobi premiere which was at Alliance Francaise. And the Cast and Crew in attendance getting recognised for their efforts in putting the film together. From Right to Left: My apologies for not getting all the names during the event. (Sound Guy/Jack of all Trades, Actor (Melvin Alusa), Actress (Mumbi Kaigwa),  Props and Costumes (Bernadette Otieno), Writer/Director (Paul Ekuru) and their Director of Photography)

 

And what you’ve been waiting for…The Trailer.

Any thoughts on the film? How about on Kenyan Film/African Film in General. I’d like to know.

The African Filmmaking Diaries: Episode 0

In Film, Happenings, Perspective on September 25, 2009 at 9:21 pm

I had the privilege of attending the Maisha Filmmaking Lab this summer, and the experience was eye-opening, tiring, exhilarating and very rewarding. I went in with a half-baked script (In retrospect, only God knows how it got selected) and I came out with a short film that I’m proud to have my name on.

I learnt a whole lot, and I felt it only fair to share my experiences from Maisha on:

  • Writing – From a concept to a screenplay.
  • Rewriting – The unmistakable process that makes screenwriting what it is.
  • Pitching – The 15 Minute pitch to direct film as experienced by me 🙂
  • Pre-production – Casting, Reccies and Planning, Planning and some more Planning.
  • Directing – From making short lists to your Shot List. Working with Actors, etc.
  • Editing – Make room for the cutting room.

Now, I am by no means an expert on any of these things, nor do I claim to be, but I want to share my experience and hope it will inspire or teach something to someone. I will be doing this all from the perspective of Dawa, my short film.

Along with my film, I’ll also showcase a couple Kenyan and East African Films that you ought to have a  look at. Some in post-production, some that have been released and some that are ongoing projects. I’ll include videos and hopefully examples that can help inspire and encourage you to do capture light and do something with it. 🙂

Hope you enjoy the ride over the next couple of blog posts…

Sit tight for the African Filmmaking Diaries!

Lola Kenya Screen Preview: Independent Producers in Eastern Africa Workshop

In Film, Happenings on July 20, 2009 at 8:13 am

Those interested in attending a 3-day policy-making brainstorming workshop at Lola Kenya Screen 2009 later this year can send their Application (request one), Motivation and CV to director@lolakenyascreen.org.

Lola Kenya Screen Logo
Deadline is 25 July 2009.

Independent producers from:

  • Eastern Congo-Kinshasa
  • Rwanda
  • Burundi
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Kenya
  • Sudan
  • Ethiopia
  • Eritrea
  • Djibouti
  • Somalia
  • Return tickets & accommodation for one participant per country available.

    It’s all part of the Lola Kenya Screen 2009 which will host plenty of skill development programmes. It runs from the 10th to the 15th of August Rut Gomez Sobrino of the Barcelona-based UNESCO Centre of Catalonia—UNESCOCAT leads the team of mentor experts who will conduct the programmes. Sobrino shall conduct a round table conference on the UNESCO Audiovisual E-Platform project in the framework of Lola Kenya Screen.

    Also present will be Danish television director, producer and concept-maker Anette Tony Hansen, who will facilitate the Television Drama for children and youth workshop with adults. It is expected that at least five TV drama films targeting children will be realised from this hands-on workshop and that thereafter there will be greater interest among TV practitioners to create more professional TV dramas for children and youth.

    All this and more. See Lola Kenya Screen
    Spread the word.

    Mawulire ki Kampala? Here I Come!

    In Film, Happenings, Perspective, Real Talk on July 9, 2009 at 11:22 am

    It’s been a minute since I hit up the blog, I know…but in case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been pleasantly distracted by Posterous and Twitter, on which I proclaim you can follow me much closer, and much better. Blog is for big news, like this news. With that, I might as well make it formal: I have good news. I’ve been selected as a finalist in the Annual Maisha Filmmakers Lab Program for 2009.

    Maisha lab snippet

    The Maisha Film Lab is arguably the best Filmmaking and Technical Lab in the region and it’s main lab is it’s Annual 23 day lab in Kampala, Uganda. This is one of the greatest stepping stones for filmmakers in Eastern Africa with many Maisha Alumni going on to chart out some serious headway in their respective film industries. Besides the Annual 23 Day lab, they also conduct 4 shorter Screenwriting Labs (8-days) at 4 Regional Film Festivals (I was a part of last year’s at the Kenya International Film Fest in Nairobi.) I’d encourage you, if you’d be interested in filmmaking or writing for screen to participate and apply for one of their labs.

    So I leave for the beautiful city of Kampala from the 25th of July to August 16th. Hopefully, if I don’t actually direct my film, I’ll assist in directing someone else’s. (fingers crossed) Directing is something I’ve really wanted to get into for the past couple months. I’ve been patiently writing, and though I’m yet to see a film through to production, it seems this might be my chance to do both. A quick recap into how I got into screenwriting.
    In December ’07 I attended a Theatre Company Playwriting workshop with Playwright Roberta Levitow. I wasn’t a selected participant, but with some free time on my hands after finishing uni, I was so glad that Keith Pearson and Mumbi Kaigwa let me attend as the Go-pher :). I ended up participating and eventually writing a comedic play on an altercation I had with The Kenya Police regarding a safety-belt in what could (only in Kenya) be referred to as ‘The Crackdown Era’ – Where The Great Matatu Reforms of 2007(R) occured. The skills I learnt there were (and continue to be) invaluable to me. They were the best foundation and exposure anyone could ask for. I served some great tea as well, by the way 🙂
    From then on, I went on to co-write the Warner Bros. Interactive  Project ‘Pamoja Mtaani‘ (Part of the HIV Free Generation Project) and work on 5 Animated Short Films. Cajetan Boy worked with me on Pamoja Mtaani, and he introduced me to Maisha. I sent in an application to the first Maisha Screenwriting Lab at KIFF (Kenya International Film Festival) and was accepted into the week-long screenwriters lab. I kept excellent notes and learnt plenty. I also developed a couple better screenplays, not to mention Radio and TV Scripts for Advertising (The industry, I’m slowly beginning to call House – not Home i.e. you can move house, you can’t move home… But no lie, it’s growing on me. 🙂
    Of that lab, came out Writer/Director Paul Ekuru’s The Dance for Wives (Which premiered in Kenya at Alliance Francaise on Monday 6th July after screening at the Zanzibar International Film Fest and The Rwanda International Film Fest…I was at the premiere and uploaded pics to my Posterous. View them here) I’m so glad to see Paul’s film get the attention it has had. It was nominated for two Kalasha Awards recently, Best Short Film and Best Leading Actress (Karen Lucas aka Kaz)
    So, long story short, applied as soon as I found out about this years lab, back in May and I got the call on the 2nd of July. Can’t wait to see what will come out of this Lab. I don’t know all of the other finalists personally, but I know that my friend Bernadette, also at last years Maisha Lab @ KIFF and Richard from Big Brother Africa 2 were selected.
    Can’t wait to meet, study, re-write, re-write, re-write and make movies! Wish me luck!

    My serendipitous meeting with ‘The Killer Necklace’

    In Film, Perspective on March 5, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    A couple weeks ago, I happened to be walking from work when I glanced at the chalkboard outside the Goethe Institute. The blurry words ‘Lola Film Screening and Forum’ were out of view before I could make sense of them.

    In the oneirism that is me walking from work, about 5 minutes after walking past Goethe, something ‘clicked’ within me and I began to backtrack towards the sandwich board sign. Reading and confirming it, I entered in. I was 15 minutes late, but it hadn’t started…Gotta love Kenyan time.

    The house lights dimmed, I sat at the back, and there was only one head obstructing me. As the opening credits rolled, I read the words ‘Killer Necklace’ appear and transition off the screen. In case you don’t know about Judy Kibinge’s film ‘Killer Necklace‘ it came about from a comic that appeared in Kwani that was done by Alfred Muchilwa, and was developed for screen by Judy, who wrote the screenplay.

    The movie was amazing, this was the director’s cut that they showed as well and I must say I was really impressed. Without giving too much away, the story revolves around a young Kenyan male who’s good intentions are swiftly put through the wire, as he has to sink or swim through the murky and mucky waters of the crime ridden life his relative-by-association.

    His relative, a slick-talking playboy, is well-versed with iniquity, and leaves Boo to his conscience and inner demons to decipher an ultimatum. Compelling storyline, coupled with a dynamic script interpreted very well make for excellent viewing. The film I believe, has been sent out to quite a couple film festivals and I’m certain it will command several awards at the very least. I believe Judy Kibinge, the writer/director and her producer Appie are in Burkina Faso for FESPACO, an African Film Festival.

    One thing I personally loved about the film is that it was full of relatively new actors, especially in the lead parts. It was, of course, featuring well known faces in cinema and television in supporting roles, but it surely didn’t disappoint in acting.

    The cinematography of it was jaw-dropping, the photography, composure and overall aesthetic makes it in my opinion a hallmark in contemporary Kenyan cinema. This film is historical, in my opinion, because it was filmed on a RED Camera. In short, the RED Camera is the pinnacle, the ‘Don-Dada’ of digital film, better than 35mm Film Cameras, yet still digital and with eons of extendibility as far as the camera and what you can do with it. It doesn’t get more captivating, or amazing than on a Red, here are some things you know which were also shot on a RED. And it shows, with some of the most amazing scenes I have ever seen caught on Kenyan camera (would rather you watch it than I explain.)

    The movie, selected by MNet for their Mnet New Directions Program, is scheduled to air on Mnet sometime in the near future.

    On the whole though, I feel the storyline is captivating and punchy, it transitioned quick and seamlessly between scenes. Dialogue was very well used, with the absence of dialogue put to good effect too. The music set the ambience to scenes well. The translation (because there were subtitles because of the sheng) were done well too. Speaking to Appie after the screening, she informed me that the script went through close to 25 re-writes, which only reiterated to me  the screenwriter’s mantra that Writing is rewriting is rewriting…’ But they did a fantastic job and kudos to Judy, Appie and the cast and crew, who were at the screening. It was a real jump in the benchmark to what is ‘Kenyan Cinema.’

    I had no qualms worth mention, but this was my first time watching it, and as a screenwriter, there’s what you pick out on the first viewing and there’s what you pick on the second. Bravo to Judy, Appie, Seven and to cinema. All we can say is We want more…