New York, NY: MANAHATTAN SHORT and MovieMaker Magazine have selected Nairobi Half Life, Kenya’s first official submission for the Academy Awards® and AFI Fest Audience Award recipient, as the winner of the inaugural Feature Film Project. On the night of March 21, 2013, Nairobi Half Life will screen in 100 theaters around the USA. Audiences at those screenings will be asked to vote, and if the majority approve, the film will return to every participating theater for a full, one-week run.

Conceived by MANHATTAN SHORT Film Festival founder Nicholas Mason (whose 16-year-old, week-long film festival programs a slate of short films in 300 cinemas on the six habitable contents one week of every year), the Feature Film Project lets audiences decide a film’s theatrical fate.

“It’s the public that creates stars,” said Mason. “And we certainly hope that Thursday, March 21st, will be Nairobi Half Life‘s coronation.”

James Kaelan, Managing Editor of MovieMaker Magazine, said of Nairobi Half Life: “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. The German company 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.” (Read The Hollywood Reporter’s review of Nairobi Half Life.)

“Over the last few months, Nairobi Half Life has played to enormous audiences in Nairobi, and elsewhere in Kenya, and we expect it get the same outstanding reception here in the US,” said Mason. “The cinemas that every year for the last decade have supported the MANHATTAN SHORT Film Festival are extremely excited about the prospects of the Feature Film Project. We know from MANHATTAN SHORT how popular film events are when we hand the judging over to the public, and the Feature Film Project is going to take audience participation to a new level. Frankly, I’d be surprised if 100 percent of audiences on March 21 didn‘t vote to bring Nairobi Half Life back for a week’s run.”

To find the growing list of participating theaters, visit www.TheFeatureFilmProject.com. And on March 21, 2013, join MANHATTAN SHORT and MovieMaker as they help bring one of the greatest recent triumphs in African cinema to theaters around the country!

More about Nairobi Half Life

Nairobi Half Life, the feature directorial debut of Kenyan filmmaker Daniel “Tosh” Gitonga, follows Mwas (the incredible Joseph Wairimu), a young, aspiring actor from upcountry Kenya who dreams of becoming a success in the city of opportunity: Nairobi.

Traveling to the crime-ridden Kenyan capital to follow his dreams, Mwas quickly understands why Nairobi is nicknamed Nairobbery. Robbed of his money and belongings, and left alone in a city where he doesn’t know a soul, luck, or the lack of it, brings him face to face with a young, small time gang leader who gives Mwas a chance to earn a living.

Drawn into a new world of theft and violence, Mwas still tries to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. But caught between two social classes, and between a life of crime and a life on the stage, Mwas struggles to keep his identity-and his life.