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Film shot at IDP camp wins Oscar

BUSINESS
By | March 7th 2011
By | March 7th 2011
BUSINESS

By BEATRICE OBWOCHA

It was a boost for Kenya after a movie shot at Ebenezer IDP camp in Kikopey won an award in the Best Foreign Feature Category.

The film, In a Better World, won the Academy Award during Grammy awards held on February 27.

This is the second time a film shot in the country has won a Grammy award. In 2003, the film Nowhere in Africa also won an Oscar in the Best Foreign Feature.

In a Better World, which was shot by Danish production company Zentropa Entertainment in conjunction with Kenyan filmmakers Pontact Productions, had previously won the Golden Globe Award in the Best Foreign Feature Category.

Pontact Productions Director Jenny Pont said the film was shot at the IDP camp in Kikopey in October 2009. She said the shooting was done for six days and IDPs were part of the actors in the film.

She said In a Better World depicts the life of a peace-loving Danish doctor at a refugee camp in Africa.

The doctor tends to wounded soldiers and warlords and keeps emphasising peace.

Life of a doctor

Ms Pont said the film does not pinpoint a particular country but depicts the life of a doctor in a huge, desolate, harsh refugee or IDP camp with commitment to non-violence.

The film was directed by Susan Bier of Zentropa entertainment.

Pont said the casting team had as many roles as possible with Kenyan actors.

Kenyan actor Evans Muthini was given one of the leading roles in the Kenyan scenes.

The part was to be played by an actor from Hollywood but Bier changed her mind.

About 700 locals were hired daily. The film company also hired an extra 60 Nubians from Kibera.

"The former IDPs were given priority when hiring for semi-skilled or unskilled positions," said Pont.

Beatrice Nyokabi, the chairlady of Ebenezer IDP camp, said they took part in the filmmaking and were paid for roles played.

"They also constructed a classroom at Murindu Primary School and donated a water tank at Kikopey Ranch Secondary School," said Ms Nyokabi.

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