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Nairobi plays host to international film jamboree

By | October 25th 2009

By George Orido

Kenya International Film Festivals (Kiff) is hosting Hollywood films for the first time in its 4th edition.

The festival opened on Wednesday, last week, will end on October 30.

Gospel Hill and Patterns of Passion make the rich repertoire of hundreds of entries from local, regional and international producers. Gospel Hill’s Director Giancarlo Esposito has distinguished himself in such films as The Usual Suspects, Wayne Wang’s Smoke and The Last Holiday.

Giancarlo, who is attending the Kiff as a special guest, has also starred opposite actors Paul Newman in Twilight and Clive Owen in Derailed.

In a series of firsts, KIFF is also screening Kenya’s first science fiction Pumzi by Wanuri Kahiu.

Pumzi is about Asha, a curator at a virtual natural History museum in the Maitu Community located in the Eastern Africa territory. Out of the community, all nature is extinct.

Pumzi is a deep allegoric reaction and discernment of the environmental challenges facing Kenya.

World class films

The film graced the official opening ceremony attended by dignitaries, writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, actors and film students from the world over.

Simiyu Barasa and Cajetan Boy are other filmmakers from Kenya screening their works.

With the theme Africa and the Diaspora, this festival will see world class Africa films such as Jerusalema and A rebel mission in South Africa contend for awards.

In addition to the daily screenings and festival film competition there will be the international film premiers, the student’s forum, capacity building workshops, the Eastern Africa Film makers Forum, the women panorama, the theme nights, festival within festival, the artist cafeteria, the award ceremony and the outreach community screening programme.

"This year we also have another special; a presentation of academic papers at the festival theme," says Mr Charles Asiba, the festival’s director and founder.


He explains that the papers will feature academicians and historians from universities in America, Europe as well as Africa. They will discuss history particularly relating to culture and the arts.

Ms Catherine Ruelle, a film festival expert and the regional boss at Radio France International, will give the keynote address.

Catherine has experience in black filmmaking and was part of the organisation of Noir Black Negra, an artistic composition of film screenings, tales, music events and creation of an African village at Cannes festival.

In line with her black cinema knowledge, she created a special category called Raices Negras (Black roots) at the French Cinema Festival in Cuba in 1999 and 2000.

Kiff will be in Nairobi at various venues including Alliance Francaise, Nairobi National Museum, Silverbirds Cinemas at the Junction, Jumuia Place, Italian Cultural Centre and Indian High Commission auditorium.

Mathare, Kibera and Kineme slums will also have screenings, including films shot in these locations.

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