Mbeki Muslim (Wendy), Sam Psenjen (Fred) with Ella Maina (Daisy) who plays their daughter in 'Sincerely Daisy'. Photo: Courtesy.

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Sincerely Daisy, a new Kenyan movie, has found its way into the on-demand viewing site Netflix, the third such local production to grace the streaming channel after two others - Disconnect and Poacher. Sincerely Daisy, created by actor and producer Nick Mutuma, is an urban story about family, young love, timeless friendships and the reality of tough economic times. The story revolves around a young girl called Daisy (acted by Ella Maina), who, having excelled in her final year of high school is looking up to a promising future; she is ready to bloom and reach for the stars. Her future is bright. However, things begin to take a turn for the worse when she realises that her family may not have the money she needs to make her dream of studying overseas a reality.

This fact, coupled with life’s challenges, sets Daisy off on a downward spiral of unfortunate events that test her relationship with her family, boyfriend and friends. The movie's story-line has captured the attention of subscription streaming channel Netflix, where the film will premier today. Poacher premiered on the same platform seven days ago, while Disconnect was the first Kenyan movie to grace the platform. “The different thing about Sincerely Daisy is that it has a strong female lead presence than most of the movies produced from this part of the world. It is also heavy in Kiswahili, meant to export our African culture,” said Mr Mutuma, the producer. He revealed that it had taken him and his team eight months to put the movie together.

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“We wanted fresh faces to join the Kenyan film market and that is why some of the actors are barely known. We organised a film competition dubbed Next Superstar and that is how we recruited for the different roles," he told The Standard.

"Seeing this movie go into Netflix is like a dream come true. It tells you that doors are opening for the Kenyan filmmakers and that the world is ready to consume our content. It also tells you that language should not be a limitation when it comes to telling your stories to the world,” he adds.

“The success of this movie also shows that if young producers in Africa are given a chance to explore their talents and bring out their dreams, they can entirely change the poor perception of the African film industry since they tell our own African stories in a way the world can consume them.”

Francis Faiz (Chalo Mistari) and Foi Wambui (Lisa) are also part of the lead cast. Last Friday, Poacher, an award-winning Kenyan film, premiered on the same site. From the Kenyan accents, the sights of elephants and other wildlife, to the use of Kiswahili, the local film radiates a distinct Kenyan individualism.

The action-packed movie was shot and produced over six days at the Tsavo West National Park and released in August 2018. The film stars local talents Brian Ogola, Lenny Juma and Davina Leonard. A short film, the 29-minute production, grips the attention of viewers from the first minute, engaging them in the tumultuous tactics used by poachers to down their prey. It creates a cultural sensitivity towards the vice that threatens Africa’s elephant population. In a press statement issued by Quite Bright Films, the production company behind the film, the production comes at the right time, with poaching on the rise.

Poacher is a gritty thriller that investigates the human cost of elephant conservation.

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“In East Africa, Covid-19 has affected international tourism, donor funding to wildlife conservancies and boosted animal poaching. By 2040, elephants could be extinct. Poacher is a gritty thriller that investigates the human cost of elephant conservation and the systemic and environmental issues that are contributing to human/wildlife conflict,” reads part of the statement.

Poacher won Best Short Film at the eighth Kalasha awards held in Nairobi in November 2018. It has also been nominated for directing, cinematography and acting accomplishments. It has also been screened at notable international film festivals, including Aesthetic Short Film Festival, Pan African Film Festival, the 19th Independent Days Film Festival and The Five Continents International Film Festival. “Poacher focuses on the fight to stop the exportation of blood ivory across the globe,” says the film's director Tom Whitworth.