Washington, D.C.—This morning, the Embassy of Kenya in the U.S. announced its support for Nairobi Half Life, a Kenyan film screening today as part of the Feature Film Project. As part of The Project, presented by MANHATTAN SHORT and MovieMaker Magazine, Nairobi Half Life will screen in cinemas across the country tonight for one night only. Audiences at each venue then vote on whether the film should receive one week’s theatrical release. In the U.S., 46 venues are participating.
“I congratulate the filmmakers of Nairobi Half Life on the success of this film and for advancing Kenya’s contribution to the arts in the U.S. and around the world,” said Elkanah Odembo, Kenyan Ambassador to the U.S. “It is exciting to see this film receive international recognition. I encourage all those who view the film today to vote for it and bring this contribution of Kenyan filmmaking to a wider audience.”
This Thursday, March 21, Nairobi Half Life, the winner of the inaugural Feature Film Project, will show in 46 cinemas around the country for one night. But audiences have the power to bring it back for a week-long run.
This is an incredible film, and the filmmaking team—headed by director Daniel “Tosh” Gitonga—made a video encouraging people to turn out on Thursday to see the film. You HAVE to watch this video. You have to.
Forged in Nairobi’s crime-ridden streets, the student-driven film Nairobi Half Life has earned a well-deserved international reputation for telling the moving story of a young Kenyan man torn between crime and art. The accolades include a best actor award for lead Joseph Wairimu at the Durban Film Festival, selection as Kenya’s entry in the Oscars’ Best Foreign Language Film category, and great buzz at numerous international film festivals and screenings.
And now it’s coming to theaters across the U.S. as part of the Feature Film Project, presented by MANHATTAN SHORT and MovieMaker Magazine.
This is an honor for us at MovieMaker. I saw Nairobi Half Life at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and January, and I was profoundly moved. Not only is this an incredible film about art’s hard-won triumph over poverty and violence, but it’s a film whose production is almost as transcendent as the story it tells. This is a film written, directed, acted, produced, and crewed by the same people portrayed in the film. Tom Tykwer’s (Run Lola Run; Cloud Atlas) ONE FINE DAY FILMS—in cooperation with DW Akademie and Kenyan-production company GINGER INK—funded the workshop that incubated Nairobi Half Life, but this isn’t another case of westerners depicting African life from some Euro- or Americentric perspective. This is Africans depicting African life. And the result is triumphant.
The idea behind the Feature Film Project is that audiences get to decide the fate of this film. If you guys turn out to theaters on Thursday night, you can vote to bring this incredible movie back for a week-long run later this year. And this is a movie that deserves an audience more than almost any I’ve seen on the festival circuit over the last year.
To see the complete list of participating theaters, visit http://www.thefeaturefilmproject.com/cinemas.html.