3rd Lola Kenya Screen Unveils Winning Films – Swedish film wins 3rd place in children’s film competition

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Hoppet (Leaps and Bounds), a film by Peter Naess of Sweden. beat a strong field of 24 well crafted, award-winning internationalfilms that competed in seven categories, including that of Best Children’s Film whose grand prize is the Mboni that is split in three: Golden, Silverand Bronze Mboni.

Hoppet is a feature film that revolves around two brothers who flee US-occupied Iraq. The official jury, comprising four children from Nairobi and Kiserian in Kenya andHarare in Zimbabwe, described Hoppet as being ‘hopeful’. “Despite their many struggles, the two boys finally achieve their goals and get to their final destination where they are re-united with their parents.”

This was the first time in three years that a Western European film had taken the Golden Mboni. Ukrainian and Israeli films had received it in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Even then, it barely managed to squeeze past Siri Raja Siri (King Siri) of Sri Lanka that had been widely expected to take the top prize home.

Siri Raja Siri by Somaratne Dissanayake of Sri Lanka had to contend with the Silver Mboni as Subira by Kenya-based Ravneet Sippy Chadha made away with the Bronze Mboni. Raja Siri Raja, the jury noted, “is a funny, uncomplicated film about a village boy who overcomes the discouragement of poverty.” The star of the 88-minute film, 11-year-old Sirimal excels in his national examinations to join a star college in the city that other materially well-off children can only dream about. Despite encountering lots of social and economic challenges, he succeeds.

Subira, on the other hand, stars a strong-willed 11-year-old girl who rebels against tradition to be as free as her brother who plays freely. The jury was impressed by the 12-minute film “about a Muslim girl fighting for her rights despite the tyranny of the conservative community she lives in.”

The Best Documentary Award was given to Journey of a Red Fridge by Lucian Muntean and Natasa Stankovic of Serbia, the jury noted that it “shows us the life of many children in Nepal. It is about a 17-year-old boy who earns a living as a porter.”

Max’s Words, a film by Galen Fott and Jerry Hunt of the USA got the Best Animation Film Award for what the jury described as “an inspirational and original film, with beautiful images” and “a truly surprising film!” For “a film we found well made in every aspect—story, sound and image,”the jury gave the Best Short Film Award to Porque Hay Casa Que Nunca Se Olvidan (There are Things You Never Forget). “The plot was humorous and the end had a surprising twist that made us laugh,” the jury noted of the 13-minute film made in 2008 by Lucas Figueroa. Set in Naples, Italy, in 1950, There Are Things You Never Forget shows boys exacting their revenge on a vengeful elderly woman for an unforgivable crime: The destruction of their foot ball.

Hello Spring, a lyrical and philosophical 7-minute film directed by Masoone Jafari and produced by Elahe Kasmaei of Iran grabbed the Most Experimental Film Award in the two-hour ceremony held at the Kenya National Theatre in the Nairobi central business district. “This film is a musical adventure with the message that we should not be obsessed with the way we look. We are perfect!” the jury intoned as Kasmaei of the Islamic Republic of Iran Television went forward to receive her award.

The Child Rights Award went to Quamar (Working to Live), a 10-minute film by Preeya Nair of India. The jury said the film “shows the struggles of a girl being exploited by a shopkeeper where she works because she can’t count. She would like to go to school but her mother doesn’t think this is necessary for girls.” This was the second time the Child Rights award had gone to India following its introduction in 2006 when Jonny Ramesh’s Agaram (Alphabet) won it.

For the second time since 2007 when Films by Children for Children won the Grand Prize at the 5th World Summit on Media and Children/Kids for Kids Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa, a Lola Kenya Screen production described by the jury as “a funny and educational film with a clear message that makes you just want to learn. It is a film for and by children”, took the Kids for Kids Africa prize at the 2nd Kids for Kids Africa held in the framework of the 3rd Lola Kenya Screen.

The film, Little Knowledge is Dangerous, was written, animated, shot and directed by Samora Michelle, Adede Hawi NyOdero and Karama K Ogova during the 2nd Lola Kenya Screen film production workshop conducted by Maikki Kantola of Finland for Project Anima of Denmark in 2007.

Some eight films from Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe were in the 2nd Kids for Kids Africa Competition. They were Uncovering Secrets of the World by Mia Dupper of South Africa (2008); Ingwazi Jive by Abigal Mlotshwa, Fight Against Poverty by Tinashe Maravanyika, Ndaifara by Mercy Mafudze and Craig Kimu, and Oh Mama by Thelma Maduma of Zimbabwe made under the Postcards from Zimbabwe compilation (2006); and Little Knowledge is dangerous by Adede NyOdero, Samora Michelle and Karama Ogova, Manani Ogres by Joseph Hongo, Marcus Joseph, Norrick Joseph and Samuel Musembi, and The Wise Bride by Alexandria Ngini, Aysha Satchu and Layla Satchu (2007).

Six documentary films developed in the Lola Kenya Screen Children and Docs workshop with the support of the Jan Vrijman Fund/IDFA of The Netherlands were screened as were three animation films made by 10 children under the guidance of Dr Eid Abdel Latif of Egypt with the support of Africalia of Belgium. The young filmmakers were drawn from Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Kenya. The Rwandan representatives did not make it to Nairobi. The international guests to Lola Kenya Screen 2008 included Kasmaei of Iran, Isabel Manuel of Zimbabwe, Dominica Kulia and Tony Mushoborozi of Uganda, and Ali Othman of Tanzania.

www.lolakenyascreen.or.ke