Gerald Langiri
April 06 / 2014

There is a certain unexplainable power that cinema exudes. You really can’t compare the experience of watching a movie on the big screen with that of watching the same movie on TV. The sound effects, the picture quality, the audience cheering, laughing and sympathizing with you in the hall, is all part of the cinema experience.  Let us not forget the over-sized stars: Cinema elevates actors. They literally become demi-gods.

In recent years, small screen has been gaining an upper hand over cinema. While many of us would go to the cinema to get the magnificent special effects that your average TV series would not offer, we are seeing great aspects of cinema being incorporated on TV shows. The high budgets that movies were allocated are also being granted to TV series by TV networks. It is becoming harder to differentiate between series and movies expect for the obvious reason of time; movies are usually between 90-120 minutes while series can have seasons on end.

With Hollywood box office sales still on an upward climb, it is evident that cinema still maintains its power and theatrical box office earnings are the primary metric for trade publications in assessing the success of a film. Cinema is here to stay and audiences in Hollywood are proving that.

The story is totally different back home. An article titled THE DEMISE OF KENYAN MOVIE THEATRESshowed that a total of 4 cinemas are currently still operational out of the 14 cinemas we once had. It doesn’t make business sense for cinema owners to have their cinemas running anymore. While piracy is a major contributing factor to this, Kenya has little to none a cinema going culture. Kenyans are buying Hollywood movies at Kshs 50 ignoring the power of big screen. Why pays Kshs 500 to watch a movie at a cinema hall when I can get the same movie 10 times cheaper at home?

That thought process has immensely affected the vibrant and young film industry that Kenya has. An averages of 5 movies, targeted for cinema, are produced in a year.  More producers opt to take the TV series route because their chances of making profits are higher. Those brave enough to make movies were/are finding it difficult because cinemas are closing down but also cinemas were not opening their doors to Kenyan content and only showed Hollywood and Bollywood movies, leaving film makers to find alternative methods to screen their movies to the public like was the case with Wrong Number(2014) that premiered at Alliance Françoise theatre.

Movies like Nairobi Half Life (2012), House of Lungula (2013) and the Distant Boat(2014) in the recent past have however provided hope for the budding Kenyan Film maker when they premiered and had a run at the cinema(Century Cinemax) with a relatively good number of Kenyans flocking the cinemas to watch them.

The location of the cinemas however still hampers many more Kenyans from going to watch these movies and they opt to get DVDs instead. An article titled “ HERE IS WHY YOU DONT SEE YOUR FAVOURITE KENYAN MOVIES ON DVD explains why getting Kenyan movies on DVD is also a challenge.

 It was therefore a moment to cherish when I sat down at IMAX (20th Century) cinema, the only centrally located cinema, to watch Captain America and just before the movie starts, a short Kenyan film titled “between the lines” appears. Yet another landmark in the Kenyan film industry worth being celebrated.

between the lines

Why is it a big deal? Well, it was a fete which I had known was extremely hard to accomplish if not impossible until now. See, IMAX (an acronym for Image MAXimum) is a motion picture film format and a set of cinema projection standards. IMAX has the capacity to record and display images of far greater size and resolution than conventional film systems. To show a film on an Imax Screen, One has to upgrade it into an IMAX format or shot using special IMAX cameras. Most films come in the 35 or 70 millimeter format while IMAX film is called the 15/70 film format. Each frame is 70 millimeters high and 15 perforations wide. In other words, the film size is about 10 times bigger than standard 35-millimeter film. This film size gives an IMAX movie incredible clarity, even on the huge screens in IMAX theaters. The 15/70 film size makes an IMAX projector a truly unique device. Read more about Imax here.

You can understand why I thought it was impossible to have a Kenyan movie shown on IMAX just yet and therefore having a Kenyan film maker get a breakthrough is something worth shouting about.

Directed by Likarion Wainaina,Produced by Bruce Makau and Brian Munene under their company Kibanda Pictures,  Between the lines is the 1st kenyan film to be shown on the massive Imax screens. Done as part of their Club Sinema Project, a platform that brings, directors, actors, writers, cinematographers and gaffers together to make films, between the lines tells a story that is all too common in our acting industry; The story of love brewing on set between actors and a director who wants to take sexual advantage of an actress trying to make it and in most cases than not, the role goes to the actress willing to “give it up” to the director. The short film stars Temko Lavinda, Brian Muinene, Sam Psenjen and Shiviske Shivisi.

Shot on a Canon 5D Mark ii and the Nokia 808 Pure veiw ,the film will show every day at IMAX just before the movie you have paid to watch in this month of April. So while I am an advocate of watching Kenyan movies, get time to go watch a Hollywood movie just in order to experience watching a Kenyan film on that massive Imax screen.

Brian Munene Gitahi is also willing to share his expertise on how he managed to get the breakthrough of having his film show on IMAX and you can contact him through his facebook page.

Get to know more about the production company Kibanda Pictures through their facebook page here.

You can watch the film below and compare that with the IMAX experience:

Article by Gerald Langiri

Share this post

Other Posts


Posted on Mar 22, 2014

It has been barely a month since I last had Elizabeth Aruwa in my thoughts. This was right after I had watched her amazing performance on a short film she featured in titled “Killer Necklace”. The film was released in 2008 and she played the mean wife to her husband (played by Raymond Ofula) who brought home a gold necklace for her. When I term Elizabeth as a veteran actress, I mean ex...


Posted on Mar 22, 2014

AUDITION ALERT! From the makers of the hit comedy TV show Briefcase Inc, Wholesome entertainment will be holding auditions for a TV comedy pilot on Monday 24th of March2014 at Kenya National Theater (Dance Studio). Below are the details of the audition. Production title: KYM Producer: Joyce Musoke and Daisy Busolo Casting Director: Seth Busolo Contacts for casting director: Email to book- info@...


Posted on Mar 21, 2014

I like attending film related events. Name them: movie premiers, film/acting workshops and seminars, wrap parties (the ones I can manage to gate crush just incase I am not invited) etc  For the simple reason that I get to network and it is one of the sole reasons as to how I have managed to advance in my acting career. (On top of many other factors) but networking is one of the top 2 reasons ...


Posted on Mar 20, 2014

I don't know how true this is, but rumor has it that Lupita Nyong'o ( or rather her marketing team and managers) refused for her to do an interview with a local newspaper in Kenya after winning her Oscar. The credible source working for this particular newspaper, says the reason given was: 'When she was in Kenya, no one bothered about her and she was still doing amazing things. It was th...