Kenyan actor Austin Kemie will be seen in Faith Happens, a feature film to be released bySter-Kinekor Theatres (SKT) cinemas nationwide from Friday, 21 August 2009. The film weaves together the stories of struggle and surrender that make up the fibre of local Christian churches across the globe.
The various stories in the film are all based on actual people and transcend their location to become the lives and stories of people across the globe who are struggling to figure out how to live out the mandate of Jesus to “…love one another…” within a local church family. One of the stories in the film, produced and directed
After a divine connection with a missionary supported by a local church in the States, Masa gets the miraculous opportunity to fulfill his lifelong ambition of studying in America. As a result of this, Masa’s path crosses with a drug-addicted artist, a feisty senior citizen, a mother dying of cancer, a woman caught up in adultery, and a salesman with the greatest “product” in the world… all members of the same local church-community.
To Masa, a refugee from Kenya, America has always been the Promised Land. Having survived religious persecution and a narrow escape with death in rebel uprisings in his own country, Masa’s dream comes true when his path crosses with that of an American worship leader on a mission’s trip to Africa. Or, so he thought.
Many of the scenes were shot in a real Kenyan refugee camp, Kenyan town, and National Park. “There was a lot of red tape trying to do what we did, and navigating the various government agencies involved was pretty time consuming,” said award-winning producer and director Rick Garside in an interview about the miracles that were needed for them to film the scenes on location in Kenya. “Getting Austin, our actor, into the country was touch-and-go right up until the afternoon of the day he arrived. That was something many people were praying for before I left.”
Garside decided to make a film about the place that changed the course of his life: the church he grew up attending, after listening to many of the current debates over the relevance of local churches. He partnered with Hollywood celebrity Pat Boone as Executive Producer, and Garside and Boone made the film by drawing from the real-life stories of the people in Garside’s church.
Masa’s story is one of them, and apart from other insights, it sheds light on the intense grace needed to deal with misguided expectations and other challenges relating to intercultural missions.