TOP 10 KENYAN MOVIES OF 2012
While Kenya’s film history will be taught in schools across the country in the years to come, I believe 2012 will be one of those years that marked a difference. There was screening in movie theatres of Kenyan movies, something unheard of before. One movie was submitted to the Hollywood Oscars despite it not making it to the final round of those awards. Revolutions and resolutions to make films is what is on many a film makers mind as 2013 embarks. The Kenyan audience will not state the reason for not watching Kenyan movies anymore is “lack of availability”. Perhaps the biggest challenge still facing film productions in Kenya is marketing and Distribution. Whilst movie theatres are slowly opening up to movies being shown, majority still lack a way to get to watch them and perhaps making DVDs for sale could be the way forward.It is however a step towards the right direction.
I decided to rank the movies that I watched that were released or made a buzz in 2012 by listing the said movies from the good to the very best.
10. SENIOR PASTOR
Directed by: Kangethe Mungai
Starring: Kangethe Mungai
A kalasha 2012 nomination, Senior Pastor revolves around a pastor framed for rape and out to prove that he was innocent.
9: KEEPING IT TOGETHER
Directed by: Mark Wambui.
Produced by: Mark Wambui and James Kihara.
Starring: Brevick Ngereri, Audrey Choge.
From Chromatic Pictures came a thrilling Drama/Comedy that takes you into the lives of five friends: MIKE, TERRY, IAN, LUCY & KATE.
Keeping it together is a good movie with a very strong storyline judged from the synopsis and the preview you will watch below. It did not have any big budgets behind it and to top it all up, it was made by students and no one had heard of new comer director Mark Wambui till now and therefore a pat on the back is a must for the cast and crew who have still managed to have it aired in the Cinemas.
Produced by Emerald Group Limited under Emerald Film Company.
Producer: Steven Anderson Wekesa
Director: Esther Gicheha
Starring: Frank Abong’o, Biko Nyongesa
Based on a team building game with the same title, T.H.I.E.F revolves around the life of 10 first year students and their lecturer introduces first year students to the basic concept of acting V.O.T.E. With strict instructions not to share the assignment, the students leave the classroom for the weekend when they decide to go for camping. That is when the murders happens..or do they?
For the lovers of thrillers, THIEF had a good script with a good flow of unexpected events. To top it up, it was also a student film and therefore all credits are due.
7.CAPTAIN OF NAKARA
Produced by: Jim Shamoon
Directed by:Bob Nyanja
Starring: Bernard Safari
A criminal who has just been released from prison with his pal Sunday following a celebration of the president’s birthday, is afraid of losing the woman of his dreams and as such pretends to own a profitable market stall. Wearing a stolen military uniform, he manages to succeed in defending his rights, his happiness - and ends up elected as Kwetu's president.
6. RETURN OF LAZARUS
Produced by: Jitu Films
Directed by: Alex Konstantaras
Starring: Lizz Njagah
Two brothers, Lazarus (Alexandros Koch) and Kiriakos (Nelson Lucas), set for a road trip in Maronia, Northern Greece, in order to find the mythical cave of the Cyclops where King Maron used to hide his wine. According to the myth if you drink from this wine you gain the eternal youth. Kiriakos wants to become young again in order to rejoin the Boy Scouts after they expelled him recently for life. Lazarus is trying to find himself after losing his job, his house while he still hopes to bring back his divorced wife, whom he still loves. On their journey they meet different people including King’ora (Lizz Njagah ), a Kenyan woman who works in a local hotel. Very soon sparks begin to fly between her and Kiriakos.
5. SIMIYU SAMURAI
Produced by: Xmedia Kenya
Directed by: Robby Bresson
Starring: Ryan Mbatia
“The movie is about a Kenyan who goes to Samurai school in Japan and then has to return after that country suffers one of its many tsunamis. On returning home he gets into an altercation with goons who run a protection racket in his home village where his grandmother is a trader. After an almighty fight he is given a choice by the goons; surrender or his grandma and his new love interest get macheted. In an interesting turn of events, the movie ends as the audience is asked to vote by SMS on how the movie should proceed.” The star
If you are lover of Kung-fu/martial arts action flicks, Simiyu Samurai is the movie for you. Of uncertainty though is if Simiyu Samurai was meant to be a movie or a series.
The series can be followed on the show website www.simiyusamurai.com
Directed by: Jinna Mutune
Starring: Trevor Gitonga
“LEO is a charming and beguiling adult fairy-tale set in Nairobi, a Metropolitan City in Kenya that is a melting pot of East African culture, art, politics and commerce. It is a story about Maasai boy, raised in a low-income home, achieving his dream against all odds. LEO film is a simple story that captures the essence of a child’s heart still open to all the posssibilities of achieving his dream in “Kenya” Africa.” Kenyabuzz
Produced by Carol Nguta.
Directed: Gilbert Lukalia
Starring: Rita Dominic
Shattered tells the story of a woman, Keziah Njema (played by Rita Dominic) whose traumatic childhood in a seemingly ideal middle class family becomes a precursor to a life of turmoil, depression, and self destructive behaviour.
2. LOST IN AFRICA
Directed by: Vibeke Muasya
Starring: Amos Odhiambo
An 11 year old boy with an immense love for soccer sets on a journey to Kenya, his country of birth for the very first time. The boy is accompanied by his adopted Danish mother. He is a bit reluctant as he would rather be playing his favorite game back at home instead of traveling. The boy looses his precious ball and decides to run after it, only for him to get lost in the biggest city slum in Africa, the Kibera slums.
1.NAIROBI HALF LIFE
Produced by: One Fine day films and Ginger Ink
Directed by: Tosh Gitonga
Starring: Joseph Babu Wairimu
An aspiring actor from upcountry Kenya dreams of becoming a success. In pursuit of this he makes his way to Nairobi: the city of opportunity!
It goes without saying that Nairobi Half life is the biggest movie Kenya witnessed in 2012 and dare I say in a decade. The only movie that has ever been submitted to the Hollywood Oscars and has literally put Kenya on the film map (if one does exist).
2013 here with us and there are already signs of another year full of great movies to be made. We are watching this space.
Compiled by Gerald Langiri