By Iminza Keboge
Published June 9, 2017
She hangs upside down, spitting blood, moaning pitifully as if in excruciating pain, begging for mercy, several fresh cuts oozing with blood visible on her face. She is one of the many nameless bodies hanging in a nondescript dark room that resembles an execution chamber. Are these people, humans, or are they livestock carcasses in an abattoir? As screams and wails give way to a deathly silence, someone suddenly shows up.
This is a summary of TORTURE, one of the eight films to be screened and discussed at Goethe-Institut in Nairobi, Kenya, during Lola Kenya Screen film forum (LKSff), the longest running and most consistent movie gathering on the arts and entertainment calendar of Kenya’s capital.
The meeting, on June 19, 2017, shall also see this premier critical movie platform mark its 100th monthly (bi-monthly since 2016!) meeting since its inception in 2005.
TORTURE is a production of Film Lab, a group of young thespians and moviemakers that came into being in 2014 with the aim of creating ‘life-changing movie content that influences people and provokes discussion’.
BEHIND THE SEEN, a film that explores the limits to which love and fear, driven by deep-seated secrets, can push a man; LIFE GUARD, a movie that looks at what could possibly go wrong when a supposedly well trained, well equipped and much sought after life saver is on duty; and NAZIF, the story of a distressed father searching for his child who has gone missing while his nature works for and against his quest, shall be shown on the BIG screen for players in the movie sector to appreciate as LKSfff, in its 12th year, marks its 100th gathering.
Film Lab says its mission is to ‘provide a platform for developing transformative content through mentorship and training for excellence and the production of films that will impact the masses.’
Peter Kawa, who says he has been acting for stage and screen for more than 10 years, directs and produces movies.
While Emmanuel Amimo is a poet, actor, photographer and cinematographer and Edijoe Mwaniki an actor, director and producer and writer, Liz Kanyi–‘a lady in search of knowing God and making him Known’–says she acts in and produces movies with moral teaching. “I believe Life is too short. Be the change you want to see in the world today,” she says.
Among the people whose technical skills go into the movies produced by Film Lab include Dennis Musembi (video editor and Motion graphics); Isaac Otieno Awuor (video editor and cinematographer) and Greg Kiwo (lighting specialist).
And last but not least come the people who show what is told; actors who bring stories to life. These screen idols or stars who shall grace the 100th LKSff at Goethe-Institut in the Nairobi CBD on June 19 from 5:30 PM include Gerald Langiri, an actor and casting director; Wanjiku Mburu who is currently appearing on MACHACHARI series every Friday on Kenya’s citizen TV; Florence Nduta whose acting career began in 2012 with LIES THAT BIND television drama series; Blessing Lung’aho who says he ‘stumbled into the industry by accident in late 2013 when i was stopped on my way to work by a commercial casting agent’; Brian Ogola who says ‘Skipping lectures to attend auditions and rehearsals is where my artistic journey really began’; and George Mo, an actor who says ‘I come alive when in front of the camera and work diligently to achieve the role given to me. My motto is God first followed by family and acting’.
The aims of LKSff–that deals with all sorts of short moving images: Public Service Announcements (PSAs), Commercials, Animations, Experimentals, Avant-Garde, Documentaries, Music Videos, and Fictions–are to help build capacity in the movie sector of Kenya and eastern Africa; and to help turn moviemaking in the region into a sustainable industry.
LKSff is regarded as a training platform for moviemakers, event programmers/presenters, public speakers/discussion moderators, journalists/critics, promoters/marketers and resource-mobilisers. Thanks to the support of ComMattersKenya consultancy and Goethe-Institut who have since 2005 co-presented the event, LKSff is often one of the first places where new movies can be seen and young talent spotted.