The 12th edition of the Kalasha International Film and TV Awards took place on Saturday night, recognising the best in film industry in the country.
It was a glitzy affair, from the black-tie dress code to the red carpet, tight security, and attendance by the who’s who not only in film but governance.
The masters of ceremony for the fete were media personalities Sheila Mwanyigha and Larry Asego.
While Mwanyigha calmly took the well-dressed audience through the itinerary, Asego cracked jokes that lit up the event, easing tension of the nominees eager to know if they would take home the enviable awards.
The big night was held at the Safari Park Hotel and graced by Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs, Sports and Arts Ababu Namwamba as well as Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna. The president’s daughter, Charlene Ruto also graced the occasion.
The Phil It Production team, founded by Abel Mutua and Philip Karanja (film directors) shone brightly as they took home six awards for their 2022 film Click Click Bang.
The film won the Best Viewers Choice Award for a Feature Film and Best Feature Film, as well as some of the biggest fetes if the night.
Click Click Bang clenched the slot for Best Lead Actor in a Film, with it’s lead actor Basil Mungai as Kev taking it home.
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Ian Nyakungi as Kasisi won the Best Supporting Actor in a Film, while the film’s make-up and hairstyling was also recognised, with Pambo by Mel of Click Click Bang winning Best Make-up and Hair Styling.
Actor Ian Nyakundi, in his acceptance speech thanked his family for supporting him as he pursued a career in the arts.
“I would like to thank my wife for her support, she is somewhere in Europe right now, I can’t keep up,” Philip Karanja joked as he received the award for Best Feature Film.
“Today, I am so proud to say that Click Click Bang is the fruit of local investors,” Karanja said. “We know that if we want to do well in this global game, we have to invest in our local growth and income streams.”
He added: “To my fellow film makers, let’s keep thinking outside our comfort zones and start selling movies.”
Actress Annstella Karimi won the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Film for her role as Eva on the 2021 Comedy/Drama Baba Twins. Nyokabi Macharia notably took home the award for Best Lead actress for her role Wendo on the 2022 film Chaguo.
“I was surprised that this year there have been so many opportunities, contrary to what we were told growing up, that art is not a career because it is not sustainable,” Nyokabi said.
She added: “And whereas this statement has some truth, I have hope in the future that there will come a time that when actors demand for royalties, they won’t think we are crazy. That we can have better working hours, mental health insurance and better pay.”
The Kiswahili language was also a major topic of the night, with Swahili films and productions receiving recognition with multiple awards.
Abbas Omar took home the big award for Best Editor for his film Kiswahili Kitukuzwe.
“Be original. Original ni halisi. Na kitu kigani halisi kama sio Kiswahili. Kiswahili is the best export we have,” Omar said.
The Lifetime Achievement Award went to the legendary actor Raymond Ofula, who was celebrated for his achievement in film that includes multiple international roles.
Youth Affairs, Sports and Arts CAS Ababu Namwamba congratulated the event organisers, Kenya Film Commission for their role in growing the film industry in the country through such events.
Other major wins included Eugene Mbugua's Story Yangu for Best documentary Film, the 2022 film Ayaanle for Best Original Screenplay and Best Short Film as Christmas Love by Peter Kawa; among others.