Ogova Ondego and Bethsheba Achitsa write: For the organisers of the annual Lola Kenya Screen-Eastern Africa’s first and only audiovisual media festival, skill-development mentorship programme and market for children and youth-the possibility of the festival that marked its fifth edition in 2010 happening was a big
headache. With no funding forthcoming, the festival could not fly in participants who had applied to the annual skill development workshops alongside filmmakers from other countries.
But on August 9, 2010-thanks to ComMattersKenya communications consultancy-the 5th Lola Kenya Screen festival kicked off at the Kenya Cultural Centre that incorporates the Kenya National Theatre. One after the other, enthused children and youth from Nairobi and its environs streamed into the 150-seat Concert Hall that had been hired to showcase more than 100 films from 39 countries.
The festival, that had also brought together other child-oriented groups based in Nairobi, took off on a very high note at the official opening ceremony in the evening of August 9, 2010.
While Talent Empire-Kenya, a group of school-going children entertained the audience that had gathered with the aim of nurturing, exploring and celebrating talent among children, photographers from the Mwelu Foundation that specialises in photography and Lola Kenya Screen kept their cameras clicking, documenting the on-goings at the festival for posterity. Held on the motto, “Passion, Innovation, Adaptability’, Lola Kenya Screen was introducing the audience to the art and science of appreciating the seventh art-moving images.
In his opening remarks, Ogova Ondego, the Lola Kenya Screen founder and managing trustee, urged all those gathered at Lola Kenya Screen to invest in their children.
“While some invest in politics and others in stocks, we at Lola Kenya Screen invest in our children,’ Ondego said. “Woe unto any country or nation that fails to invest in its young people.’
Reiterating Ondego’s remarks was Simon Peter Otieno, the founding director of the Kayole-based Talent Empire-Kenya. Dr Otieno said he had founded the
group as a research project but after his doctoral studies in Britain he had returned to Kenya only to discover that the project had transformed
itself into an arts group specialising in acting, singing and dancing among children.
The Mathare-based Mwelu Foundation that trains children and youth in photography and basic life skills was introduced to the audience by f15-year-old Judy Joy Mugechi who participated in Lola Kenya Screen’s creative journalism mentorship programme.
After the official opening ceremony, the audience kept on coming over the next six days of the festival that commenced with a one-hour daily media
literacy seminar where the facilitators informed the audience about the opportunities and inherent dangers posed by the mass media.
The annual skill development programmes that included film production, creative journalism, film judging/appreciation and events organisation and presentation attracted the participation of 23 children and youth with 60% of the participants taking part in the film production.
The production workshop participants, aged 6-15 years, managed to make five short documentaries and fictions: BEHOLD THE GLORY, FACEBOOKING ERA,
WELCOME TO MY NAIROBI, THE UN-ENDING LOLA KENYA SCREEN ADVENTURE and TALENT EMPIRE-KENYA.
Two of the productions, TALENT EMPIRE-KENYA and BEHOLD THE GLORY were shown to the audience during the closing ceremony on Saturday, August 14, 2010 at the Kenya National Theatre.
For its 5th edition, Lola Kenya Screen received 302 films from 39 countries-Serbia, Nepal, USA, Spain, Namibia, Germany, Poland, Denmark, Italy, India, Iran, Uganda, UK, France, Finland, Romania, Moldova, Singapore, Kenya, The Netherlands, Croatia, Tunisia, Japan, Malawi, Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Slovenia, Kosovo, Ethiopia, Norway, Brazil, Tanzania, Uganda, Turkey, Ukraine, Latvia, Argentina, Russia-in 34 laguages-Nepali, Tamang, Spanish, English, German, Polish, Danish, Italian, Tamil, Farsi, Karamojong, French, Hokkein, Dutch, Arabic, Kannada, Chichewa, Setswana, Slovene, Kiswahili, Albanian, Amharic, Sheng, Somali, Norwegian, Singala, Kinyarwanda, Portuguese, Malayalam, Gambay, Finnish, Luganda, Turkish, Russian, No dialogue – from five continents-Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, North America.
The festival screened one third of the films submitted for consideration in 10 sections: The Golden Mboni Award Competition for the best children’s film, The 14-Plus Award Competition for the best youth film, Films by Students, Films by Children, Films for Youth, Eastern Africa Prism, Television Series, World Panorama, Special Focus, and 4th Kids for Kids Africa.
The highest number of entries came from Spain followed by Kenya and Nigeria. First time participants in the five-year festival were Kosovo, Tunisia, Malawi, Moldova and Singapore.
Animation carried the most entries from almost every country and continent and a good number of experimental films were also registered.
Lola Kenya Screen 2010 witnessed an upsurge in the number of films made by children and youth, i.e. those under the age of 18 years. In all, the festival attracted 2500 participants to Kenya’s premier house of arts and culture.
The 5th Lola Kenya Screen ended on August 14, 2010 with top prizes going to Nigeria and Malawi. This was a departure from the norm that has seen most top prizes go to the North since the inception of Lola Kenya Screen in 2005.
Beating a field of 22 to the prestigious 5th Lola Kenya Screen Golden Mboni Award for the best children’s film was CHAMPIONS OF OUR TIME by
Nigerian Mak’ Kusare. The three-member jury comprising Vanessa Alice Wanjiku (10), Alexander Thungu Kinyanjui (17) and Simon Odhiambo Onyango (17) described the 2010 production as being based on a universal theme. “This film is based on a universal theme…The cast is well chosen and we find the film educative, informative and captivating,’ the jury said of the 120-minute film.
CHAMPIONS OF OUR TIME starres two whiz kids trying to enter an international quiz competition. While one is denied registration on the account of her being physically challenged, the other is accepted with open arms as she is from a well-to-do family and would, therefore, be a good representative of the country abroad.
SEASONS OF A LIFE, a 2009 production by Charles Shemu Joyah of Malawi won the Lola Kenya Screen 14-Plus Award for the best youth film on the account
of its “creative beginning, good casting, good technical quality’ andits proclamation of the divinity of the motherhood in word and deed.’
While the Christian Ditter-directed VORSTAADTKROKODILE of Germany and LOST AND FOUND by Philip Hunt of the UK were declared second and third best children’s films and walked away with the Silver Mboni and Bronze Mboni statuettes, WE WERE YOUNG of Namibia-based Philippe Talavera and Vincent Chabrillant’s EN MODE AILLEURS of France emerged second and third best youth films in the awards ceremony held in the heart of Nairobi.
The full list of Lola Kenya Screen 2010 awardees is as follows
Golden Mboni for the best children’s film: CHAMPIONS OF OUR TIME by Mak
Kusare of Nigeria.
Silver Mboni for the second best children’s film: VORSTAADTKROKODILE by
Christian Ditter of Germany.
Bronze Mboni for the third best children’s film: LOST AND FOUND by Philip
Hunt of the UK.
14-Plus Award for the best youth film: SEASONS OF A LIFE by Charles Shemu
Joyah of Malawi.
14-Plus Award for the second best youth film: WE WERE YOUNG by Philippe
Talavera of Namibia.
14-Plus Award for the third best youth film: EN MODE AILLEURS by Vincent
Chabrillant of France.
Best Documentary: BIG SISTER PUNAM by Lucian and Natasa Muntean of Serbia.
Best Animation: LOST AND FOUND by Philip Hunt of the United Kingdom.
Best TV series: KOZUCHA KLAMZUCHA by Andrezj Kukula of Poland.
Best Student film: GREAT EXPECTATIONS by Alexei Gubenco of Romania.
Best Children’s right film: JANAKI by M.G. Sasi of India.
Audience’s Choice Award: LOST AND FOUND by Philip Hunt of the UK.
Special Talent Prize: Talent Empire-Kenya by Simon Peter Otieno, Kenya.
Special Youth Prize: BAYELSAN SILHOUETTES, produced by Communicating for
The annual Lola Kenya Screen film festival is held every second week of August to showcase the best possible international productions for children, youth and family alongside learn-as-you-do skill-development metorship programmes in film production, film appreciation, creative journalism, event planning and presentation, and media literacy.
By August 14, 2010, Lola Kenya Screen had showcased 1750 films from 98 nations and helped train 61 children and youth in filmmaking, 23 increative journalism, 19 in event presentation & organisation, and 20 others in critical film appreciation.
Lola Kenya screen 2010 was presented by ComMattersKenya with additional support from Africalia, Belgian Development Cooperation, European Union, ArtMatters.Info, and UNESCO.