Uncategorized

THERE IS LACK OF KENYAN FILMS FOR TEACHING PURPOSES IN OUR UNIVERSITIES

Gerald Langiri
September 09 / 2013

I’m always proud of being in the first ever batch of students to graduate with a film degree from a public university in Kenya having completed my studies at Kenyatta University’s Department of Theatre Arts and Film Technology back in 2012. Going through the film program in KU was quite an  experience, the kind that can inspire one to write several books, both good and bad, and in my case, blog. Of note today  was this one elephant in the room during that entire time; the lack of Kenyan films to be used in lectures for teaching purposes.

Lecturers would come with films in class occasionally  that we would watch and engage in discussions about elements such as cinematography, plot, script etc and in all those four years I was there, only about three Kenyan films made it to those lectures including Ann Mungai’s Saikati and Wanjiru Kinyanjui’s The Battle of The Sacred Tree. Both done in the early to mid-90s. Begs the question, what have we been doing since then? Have the quality of our film nose-dived to the point that they have no scholarly benefits or able to withstand stand critical scrutiny? For for how long will Kenyan film schools depend on foreign films for learning materials?

To cut our filmmakers a break though, most filmmakers in this country haven’t undergone any formal training on that vocation. Film schools are just now sprouting in the country after a very sleepy period and it maybe a while until we have local  films that someone can write a term paper about.

However, this might also point to a predominantly lazy crop of filmmakers in Kenya. Lazy in the sense that they do not seek to arm themselves with information before they press that ‘Record’ button, in this digital era where you can learn almost from the internet.

‘A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet” said the late American actor and director Orson Welles, a heavy contrast to our industry which is heavily dominated by businessmen and not artists, the ratio could be twenty to one! Elements like cinematography are alien to them and they use play scripts to shoot films. They have no regard for camera angles, creative lighting and  their definition of an actor is anyone who can cram a script  Add to this the mysterious trend of accomplished filmmakers sending their best work to festivals abroad and immediately thereafter stashing  them on a shelf forever and you have a problem in your hands. To prove this, the local films I have just mentioned were brought to KU courtesy of the directors, who happened to be lecturers there, and they even refused to sell the films to us!

Given, someone had to start this industry somehow decades before the film schools came and we are collectively thankful to them as a country and in awe of their audacity and adventurous spirit, but moving forward If we really want to export our films we seriously need to evaluate the situation and improve the quality of our films, not just the quantity. We look forward to the time that we would aim for both critical and commercial acclaim in our works in equal measure as this is the only way we can attract the rest of the world’s attention and make money through film.

By Kennedy Omoro

http://thereelkenya.wordpress.com

Share this post


Other Posts

HOUSE OF LUNGULA PREMIER DATE AND OFFICIAL TRAILER RELEASED-CHECK IT OUT

Posted on Sep 09, 2013

I dont know about the rest of you but I was getting tired of reading about House of Lungula this and House of Lungula that. I was going crazy with all the hype and buzz the movie had created and with the premier months being postponed, I was giving up. The producers did however explain why the movie is taking long to be released and this was due to some technical hitches in post-production. ALAS A...

WE'VE SEEN "MALI" AND "LIES THAT BIND" ..AND HERE COMES "KONA" - KENYAN SOAPS

Posted on Sep 09, 2013

Kona is an East African Telenovela where glitz and glamour meets grit and sweat; love and family confront betrayal and solitude; success and triumph are pitted against failure and desperation. In a world where only the strong survive, where you’re only as good as your next move, where love and betrayal are interchangeable… we follow the world of the Oyanges, a family battling for surv...

KENYAN ACTRESS LUPITA NYONGO TAKING OVER HOLLYWOOD

Posted on Sep 09, 2013

Lupita Nyong'o was born in Mexico, to Kenyan parents, and was raised primarily in Kenya. Her father, the politician Anyang' Nyong'o, is the former Minister for Medical Services and was elected in 2013 to represent Kisumu County in the Kenyan Senate. He has a PhD in political science from the University of Chicago and taught in Mexico and Ethiopia before taking a position at the Univ...

THE PLUG-IN SHOW- A NEW ONLINE TALK SHOW FOR THE GENERATION Y

Posted on Aug 26, 2013

When we say TV is changing it is really changing, a new show that will redefine online shows will be launched this mid week (28TH August 2013). The Plug-In show is a talk show combining reality TV and a one stop shop segment for the creative and performing arts world. Simply put, it’s a Generation Y Show. The reality segment promises to be the most interesting and dynamic segment of the show...