Lola Kenya Screen marks 5 years with critical writing and creative documentary workshops

BY OGOVA ONDEGO. NAIROBI, KENYA (CINEMA MINIMA) — The Lola Kenya Screen audiovisual media movement for children and youth in eastern Africa held cutting-edge workshops in creative documentary film and critical writing at the Kenya National Theatre in Nairobi between November 29 and December 4, 2010.

Presented in the framework of the pan African Cinetoile African mobile cinema network, these workshops — that brought together 30 children and youth from Nairobi and its environs — also marked five years since the founding of Lola Kenya Screen as an audiovisual media festival, skill-development mentorship programme and market for children and youth in eastern Africa in October 2005.

The Learn-As-You-Do method

In the spotlight once more are the hugely popular learn-as-you-do skill-development method that has seen 142 children and youth from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe gain skills in creative and cultural entrepreneurship since August 2006; 61 have been trained in filmmaking, and 24 in creative journalism training, 11 in event planning and presentation, and 20 in critical appreciation (judging) of film. Additionally, 26 youth have been equipped with the skills to make television drama and documentaries for children and youth.

So far, 20 short animated films, 12 documentaries, and five dramatic films have been made by children and youth through the annual Lola Kenya Screen film production workshops while many talents from the writing workshops have joined the mainstream mass media organizations in the region.

The November/December training strengthened the creative and cultural sector of eastern Africa further by training many more practitioners and actors for the present and the future.


Besides empowering children and youth, Lola Kenya Screen also equips adults working with youngsters with pertinent skills. The movement also promotes the screen culture through the monthly Lola Kenya Screen Film Forum, school/community outreach mobile cinema and the annual Lola Kenya Screen film festival through which more than 1,750 best possible films from 98 countries drawn from all the six continents had been shown by August 15, 2010.

Sharon Mazviha Fortunate of Zimbabwe went through the experience of judging and awarding prizes to films at Lola Kenya Screen as a member of the Children’s jury.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the whole team for making it possible for a person like me to be part of the Lola Kenya Screen audiovisual media initiative for children and youth. I never thought I would one day fly, but I flew. I never thought I would sleep in a hotel, but I slept in one.

I spent an inspiring week at the festival meeting great and highly motivated people; tchildren’s films gave me the opportunity to express and share myself both on a personal level and a cultural level, reaching across borders and continents.

Tracy Muringa, a student at State House Girls’ School in Nairobi, Kenya, who has trained at Lola Kenya Screen in 2009 and 2010, says,

Reading about Lola Kenya Screen is not nearly as satisfying as the real experience. The various areas it trains children in are both educative and fun. The youth may look for fun in bad places but Lola Kenya Screen provides fun in a safe haven.

Bree Tonga Manuel of Zimbabwe says she learnt how to be serious and responsible in life from her experience at the third Lola Kenya Screen in 2008.

I learnt that if you want to get something done, especially in film animation and production, you have to be serious and responsible. I also learnt how to interact with other children from different cultures and backgrounds and I made many new friends, not only from Kenya but from Uganda and Tanzania.

Adede Hawi Nyodero, a student at The Kenya High School, Nairobi, is a regular participant at Lola Kenya Screen. She says,

Through Lola Kenya Screen, I have had the privilege to speak about children’s welfare and filmmaking on international radio and television networks that broadcast around the world; such networks include M-Net (Multi Choice) of South Africa, and Kenya’s Kenya Broadcasting Corporation and Africa Radio Service. I have also been featured in newspapers, magazines and several online (Internet) publications.

I feel that filmmaking can make a great impact in children’s lives and should be introduced in all Kenyan schools.

Craig Kimu of Zimbabwe went through the Lola Kenya Screen creative journalism training in 2008:

It was on a Sunday morning, the 11th of August 2008 when we departed the Harare International Airport in Zimbabwe for Nairobi in Kenya.

At first, I was shocked at the thought that it was really me who was going to Kenya for the Lola Kenya Screen film festival. It was a nice time meeting with other children, youth and adults from other countries. I learnt many things from them and so did they.

As children, we could speak openly about what life holds in filmmaking.

I’d never been in a plane before and that was my first time. I hope it’s not the last time.

I also want to thank them for raising the standard for my life.

As an empowering force for children and youth, Lola Kenya Screen gives exposure to children to interact with the world through international audiovisual media networks such as festivals, markets and awards.

Simon Onyango, a student at Jamhuri High school who participated in the Lola Kenya Screen film jury and DISCOP Africa Market, says of his experience:

I had never understood how filmmakers get back their huge investments. Thanks to Lola Kenya screen, I finally got to learn this after attending the fourth edition of the annual Distribution and co-production (DISCOP Africa) markets at Hilton Hotel in Nairobi.

I highly regard the existence of Lola Kenya Screen for the exposure that they have given me. If I had been shown I might have forgotten; if I had been told, I might not have remembered the exact words; but because I received the first-hand information and made some sense from it — I can never forget.


This training is offered by Lola Kenya Screen in conjunction with Africalia, Belgian Development Cooperation, European Union, ComMattersKenya, and ArtMatters.Info.

To achieve its goals over the past five years, Lola Kenya Screen has worked with visionary organisations and individuals across the world. They include —

  • Prince Claus Fund For culture and Development (The Netherlands)
  • Jan Vrijman Fund/IDFA (The Netherlands)
  • Africalia Belgium (Belgium)
  • Communications and UNESCO (France)
  • ComMattersKenya (Kenya)
  • Goethe-Institut (Kenya)
  • Danish Film Institute (Denmark)
  • (Kenya)
  • DW-Akademie/Berlin International Film Festival (Germany)
  • Prix Jeunesse International (Germany)
  • Finnish Film Foundation (Finland)
  • Alliance Francaise (Kenya)
  • Embassy of France (Kenya)
  • Southern Africa International Film & Television Market
  • Sithengi/Cape Town World Cinema Festival (South Africa)
  • Michael Auret
  • The Cradle Children’s Foundation (Kenya)
  • and Kenya film Commission (Kenya)


The following professionals have helped mentor children and youth in the various skill development programmes over the years —

  • Antonia Ringbom (Finland/Sweden)
  • Maikki Kantola (Finland)
  • Meikke Statema (The Netherlands)
  • Florence Sipalla (Kenya)
  • Signe Zeilich-Jensen (The Netherlands)
  • Eid Abdel Latiff (Egypt)
  • Duco Tellegen (The Netherlands)
  • Fina Sensada-Boixader (Spain)
  • Rut Gomez Sobrino (Spain)
  • Anette Tony Hansen (Denmark)
  • Emily Wanja (Kenya)
  • Wanjiru Kairu (Kenya)
  • Vincho Nchogu (Kenya)
  • and Ogova Ondego (Kenya)

Support Lola Kenya Screen

Lola Kenya Screen appeals for support from other well wishers in helping shape the destiny of Kenya, Africa and the world through mentoring children and youth. Any organisation or individual in any part of the world interested in sharing our vision and responsibilities to the present and future generations of young people in any way may contact the Directorate of Lola Kenya Screen through —

  • Email [email protected]
  • Mobile 254 733 703374
  • Mobile 254 722 486531
  • Mobile 254 752 745423
  • Telephone 254 20 315258
  • Telephone 254 20 2213318

One may also follow the progress of Lola Kenya Screen at

Published by

Austin Burbridge

Austin Burbridge is Executive Editor of Cinema Minima for Movie Makers Worldwide. He co-founded Cinema Minima in 1997. In 2007 he started its initiatives, "Sustainable Cinema," and "Far From Hollywood." He works at TBWA\ Media Arts Lab and TBWA\ MAL\ FOR GOOD.

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