Gerald Langiri
July 06 / 2013

Those who thought they had seen the first and last fast paced Kenya movie on watching Nairobi Half Life, are in for a rude awakening. Say hello to The Distant Boat. The Distant Boat is a film from On Field Media that is targeted towards the African church. The film was commissioned by the African Inland Church with the aim of having a movie that can challenge people who are involved in missionary work to work harder.

“It’s a Christian film with a particular audience, the African church and a particular objective, to challenge them in missionary work.” Mike Delorenzo, the script supervisor, states. The Distant Boat is therefore a story about a man who leaves his comfortable life and well paying job to take on missionary work at the coast but faces more hurdles than he expected.

Gitau Ngogoyo

Gitau Ngogoyo

Shooting this movie was a new challenge for the crew at On Field Media and Good News Productions as well as some of the actors involved given the fact that they had never done such a project before. “Our media team, pretty much does 5 – 10 minute documentaries. To do a feature length drama was fairly new. The closest thing to that we did was a fifteen minute drama so this was a big leap” adds Mike.

Ruth Maingi in the Distant Boat

Ruth Maingi

Looking at the trailer, nothing on it reflects the amateurish expertise that the film’s meek and modest assistant producer Mike Delorenzo professes. In fact to the average Kenyan movie goer, it gets a full on thumbs up as first class production. The film itself was shot in a variety of locations and the uptown suburban apartment we conducted interviews in was one of them. They had shot majority of the scenes in Malindi, and this is where our lead character Max Kioko (Benjamin Kamicha) chooses to embark on his missionary work.

Claude Judah In The Distant Boat

Claude Judah

The primary camera used for the film was a Panasonic AF 100, which was supplemented by the Canon 5D Mark 2 during steady handheld shots. With regards to acting standards, Taylor Martyn, the first assistant director and cinematographer for the movie, says that the bar was set very high during auditions in order to ensure that the best talent was acquired, “they had to have all their lines memorized when they came in the set. There was no adlibbing….” With 6,000 US dollars as the initially set budget, The Distant Boat proves that even with minimal funding, one can make a full feature film in Kenya that is worth international acclaim. Isaac Masiga, the film location manager reaffirms this. “We had enough to do the production, we actually shrank the budget… it had to be a little more than half a million”

The lingering issue that remains on the minds of the creators of The Distant Boat is distribution. Fortunately, it is not as pressing a matter as it would be for a fully commercial production because of the intended goal it was meant to achieve. “Our aim is to encourage and convince African churches to get into missionary work. Therefore that is our primary audience,” Isaac states. The film is expected to premier between September and October 2013 in conjuction with the Nairobi Citywide Mission conference that will be happening around the same time.

Watch the trailer of the movie below:

The Distant Boat - Trailer from AIM On-Field Media on Vimeo.

By Sam Kiranga

Courtesy of FilmKenya.

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