Films Made by Children at Lola Kenya Screen Show in South Korea, Australia, Iran, Kenya

BY OGOVA ONDEGO. NAIROBI, KENYA (CINEMA MINIMA) — Lola Kenya Screen productions — HAPPY TIMES by Elaine Nesbitt, MANANI OGRES by Samuel Musembi, Joseph Hongo, Marcus Kang’ethe and Norrick Mwangi, and SANTOS THE SURVIVOR by Rupinder Jagdev — have been selected for the Ready Action! competition section of the 6th Busan International Kids’ Film Festival in Busan, South Korea. Seven other Lola Kenya Children’s Screen productions shall show in the Kids For Kids Festival section as part of the global Kids For Kids Festival programme.

Additionally, Lola Kenya Screen’s most successful production — LITTLE KNOWLEDGE IS DANGEROUS — that has been to the nook and cranny of the four corners of the globe, has been selected for the Jump Cut screening programme of the 2011 Bayside Film Festival that holds August 17-20, 2011 at Palace Brighton Bay, Bay Street, Brighton, Victoria, Australia.

LITTLE KNOWLEDGE IS DANGEROUS that was made in Kiswahili in 2007 (and reformatted for TV broadcasting with the help of UNESCO in 2010) by Adede Hawi, Samora Oundo and Karama Ogova has played on virtually every continent. When three non-literate friends decide to learn English in an attempt to impress, little do they know they are scooping red hot coals into their lap. The story is simply told from the children’s own perspective. Realised under the guidance of Finnish Maikki Kantola with the support of the Danish Film Institute, LITTLE KNOWLEDGE IS DANGEROUS was in December 2010 shown at the Museum of Modern Art in Bogota, Colombia where it was shown to more than 1500 boys and girls. The film has won awards and accolades across the world where it has been screened. It continues to be one of Lola Kenya Screen’s all-time favourites with children in Oceania, South America, North America, South-East Asia and even in the Middle East.

While HAPPY TIMES, MANANI OGRES and LITTLE KNOWLEDGE IS DANGEROUS are films made by children aged 6-15 years, SANTOS THE SURVIVOR is one of the six short documentaries for children and youth made by practicing filmmakers during a Lola Kenya Screen film production workshop supported by the Jan Vrijman Fund/IDFA. This was one of the many hands-on workshops conducted by Duco Tellegen nd Meike Statema with the aim of sensitising practitioners in the film sector on the need for creating specialised documentary film content for hildren and youth in 2008. Jagdev’s SANTOS THE SURVIVOR has been a favourite on the world film festival circuit. It was part of the Jan Vrijman Fund documentary tour in various film festivals in 2010 after being nominated for best short documentary film at the Africa Movie Academy Awards in Nigeria in 2009.

With more than 32 films produced, Lola Kenya Screen has also been promoting the productions from Kenya through the weekly community screenings that have since October 2011 provided dwellers in Nairobi’s Kibera and Mathare informal settlements with a chance to watch films made by children and youth. Lola Kenya Screen’s productions that address issues such as caring for the environment, exploring and nurturing children’s talent as well as the benefits and threats of technological advancement are part of this initiative.

PASSION FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, FACEBOK ERA, HOUSE OF TALENT, BROTHER…BROTHER (THE QUIET KATOTO), LITTLE KNOWLEDGE IS DANGEROUS, THE UNENDING ADVENTURE, and SANTOS THE SURVIVOR have all been shown in the informal settlements to much acclaim from the audience comprising children, youth, and adults.

Lola Kenya Screen is focused on film 365 days a year through weekly skill-development mentorship programmes in schools, school/community mobile cinema, monthly Lola Kenya Screen Film Forum, annual Lola Kenya Screen film festival, and special audiovisual media outreach programmes. The mobile cinema programme covers the breadth and width of the Nairobi metropolitan area, including the Mathare and Kibera informal settlements.

While Lola Kenya Screen is an initiative that explores, identifies, nurtures, and flaunts creative talent among children and youth, Lola Kenya Screen also champions the need to see the Kenya and eastern African film sector mature into a veritable film industry. Consequently, this Nairobi-based initiative that serves children and youth in the Horn, Great Lakes and Southern Africa is a member of the International Centre of Cinema for Children and Young People (CIFEJ) — an organisation founded in 1955 under the auspices of UNESCO and UNICEF to promote excellence in cinema for children and youth. Lola Kenya Screen organises and presents Kids For Kids Festival Africa, besides identifying with various local and international film initiatives.

Since 2006 Lola Kenya Screen has been showcasing the best possible international productions for children and youth in Nairobi every second week of August. During this time of the year selected participants are given a chance to experience filmmaking; cultural journalism; creative writing; film criticism; media literacy; and event planning and presentation through special, learn-as-you-do mentorship initiatives led by local and international experts specialising in issues related to children, youth, film, mass media, culture, and development.

The sixth edition of Lola Kenya screen is scheduled for August 8-13, 2011 in the Nairobi CBD. The hugely popular skill-development mentorship programmes that form the centre piece of the festival will introduce screen-writing and screen acting to participants. The festival that has become a permanent fixture on the calendar of many film lovers will exhibit more than 250 films from 102 countries.

And — yes — you can follow the progress of Lola Kenya Screen online:

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