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Kenyan film Subira listed for Oscars

By George Orido | October 9th 2019

Brenda Wairimu and Tirath Padam star in the film Subira. [Courtesy]

The film is among entries from 93 countries that were listed for next year's 92nd Academy Awards.

Subira has been entered for consideration in the International Feature Film category. The segment was renamed from the Foreign Language category by the Academy’s Board of Governors.

Kenya Film Commission CEO Timothy Owase expressed delight at the news and congratulated the film's producers for 'achieving a milestone'.

"It’s a big plus for Kenya and I urge Kenyans to rally and support the film. Kenya should win an Oscar finally,” said Mr Owase.

The chief executive said Subira's admission to the awards vindicated the film’s big win at the Kalasha Awards this year.

The film's makers will now wait until December 16 to see if it will make it to the final shortlist of ten films that will be voted for and a winner revealed on February 9 next year at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

The Academy increased the number of shortlisted films following accusations of non-inclusivity.

An international feature film is described as a feature-length motion picture of more than 40 minutes produced outside the US with a predominantly non-English dialogue track.

Kenya has entered this category in the past three years

Ghana, Nigeria and Uzbekistan are first-time entrants in this category. Nigeria's inclusion is a surprise given that Nollywood has remained a big film business and is the second-largest employer in the most populous nation in Africa.

“I congratulate her on achieving that milestone, it’s a big plus for Kenya and urge Kenyans to rally and support the film. Kenya should win an Oscar finally,” said a delighter Timothy Owase the CEO of Kenya Film Commission where the national Oscar selection committee is domiciled.

Mr Owase says the admission of Subira in the Oscars vindicates the film’s big win at the Kalasha wards this year.

Subira is about a free-spirited young girl, in Lamu who struggles to live out her unique dream of swimming in the ocean, against local customs and an arranged upper- class marriage.

Against all odds, Subira have the courage to take her dream on.

Last year Kenya submitted the 22-minute short film Watu Wote co-produced by Germany and it went ahead to get the nomination.

It was based on a true story and events that took place in the Mandera bus attack in 2015 where Muslims defended Christians making it a fight for humanity and not a fight against religion.

The incident happened hot on the heels of the heinous Westgate terror attack.

Five years ago Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o made history when she became the first ever black African woman to win an Oscar.

Her exemplary portrayal of Patsy in Steve McQueen’s12 Years A Slave won her an Oscar for the Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

An Oscar win is a big deal and comes not only with the coveted Golden sculpture but also with big Hollywood recognition that brings in big product endorsements, and big money for future signings in movies and theatre projects.

Not to mention the immeasurable publicity.

After the win Lupita has been trailblazing including in a starring role in marvel Studio’s hero movie Black Panther set in a utopian African country Wakanda.

Lupita whose father is Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o has recently authored a book meant to inspire girls of colour by the title Sulwe – a Lu word for Star.

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