Watershed announces a UK tour of Kenyan films after Afrika Eye success

Posted by on Nov 14, 2013

Following sold out screenings at Afrika Eye Festival here last weekend, Watershed was delighted to announce that two new Kenyan films – Nairobi Half Life and Something Necessary – will be playing at cinemas and festivals across the UK until March 2014 as part of New Visions from Kenya: Celebrating 50 years of Independence. Audience reaction at Watershed has been outstanding for both films.

Tosh Gitonga’s internationally-acclaimed Nairobi Half Life (Kenya’s entry for the Best Foreign Film Oscar®) and Judy Kibinge’s Something Necessary, are the result of workshops run by Marie Steinmann and Tom Tykwer’s One Fine Day Films, in partnership with Nairobi based Ginger Ink. These workshops aim to give African filmmakers a platform to tell their own stories and make films on an international scale.

The two films are being brought into wider circulation as a result of new partnerships between some of the UK’s leading African film festivals including Afrika Eye, Africa in Motion (AiM) in Edinburgh/Glasgow, the Cambridge African Film Festival and Film Africa in London, working with television network The Africa Channel.

Cinemas and festivals so far backing this significant UK-wide initiative include Showroom in Sheffield, Cornerhouse in Manchester, the National Media Museum in Bradford, Stoke Film Theatre, Borderlines Film Festival / The Courtyard in Hereford, African Film Festival Wales, and WOW Wales One World Film Festival.

Mark Cosgrove, Watershed’s Cinema Curator says:

‘Currently only 0.01% of films shown in cinemas in the UK are from Africa. This touring initiative is about developing the availability and range of African films for increasingly diverse UK audiences. It builds on the excellent collaborative work of the UK African film festivals and partnership with broadcasters such as The Africa Channel.’

Pictured at the closing night of Afrika Eye Film Festival 2013: Justine Atkinson and Lizelle Bisschoff of Africa in Motion, Director of ‘Something Necessary’ Judy Kibinge, Director of ‘The King and the People’ Simon Bright, Director of ‘Tey’ Alan Gomis and Afrika Eye Festival Director Ingrid Sinclair.

Kenya has become the leading digitally developed country in Africa and coupled with this, the themes represented in Kenyan films are becoming more universal whilst also keeping their national particularity.

Director of Something Necessary, Judy Kibinge who visited Watershed as part of Afrika Eye explains further:

‘I think we have a testament, almost a historical piece of what Kenya certainly was, and still to some extent is. Something Necessary is a really important film that someone HAD to make, especially in these times when all we see on TV here are Korean and Mexican Soaps and music videos. It’s about hope and about revealing that no one is all evil or all good – and that all that happens in Kenya happens because each person and each community believes that what they are doing is, absolutely and always, Something Necessary.’

Throughout the year, Afrika Eye Festival collaborates with partners to bring African films from an African perspective to UK audiences, lighting up screens with the richness of African cinema, cultures and lives.

Ingrid Sinclair, Director of Afrika Eye says:

‘We show the best of African and African Diaspora films to bring a bigger picture than the mainstream gives. If we don’t show what’s happening in Kenya today, how will we find out that it’s changed since the 1950s images stuck in people’s minds?’

New Visions from Kenya: Celebrating 50 years of independence is an Afrika Eye Film Festival / Watershed touring programme in partnership with The Africa Channel. For film bookings, please email: maddy@watershed.co.uk or call 0117 927 5120.