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VIDEO: BEAUTIFULLY SHOT SHORT FILM "GRANDMOTHERS POT" TESTS YOUR FAITH

Gerald Langiri
November 02 / 2015

Grandmother's Pot is a 14min short film Written and Directed by Sammy Kibagendi and tells the story of a young 17 year old girl, Kemunto, who has to make a decision between her religious beliefs and honoring her grandmother's dying wish- to inherit 'the family pot' that's been used symbolically to represent witchcraft.

Kemunto, an orphan, made a promise to her grandmother that she'll do whatever the old woman asks of her, as a way of saying thank you for taking her in when her parents died. But the task her grandmother asks of her contradicts her Christian beliefs and should she accept it, she will betray her religious conviction and the admiration of the girls in the village, like her best friend Kwamboka, who look up to her as a role model.

Should she trust the woman who sheltered her, clothed her and raised her when no one else could, or her pastor who preaches of a “God who lives in books?”

“Filmed on location at Gesonso in Kisii County, this drama is actually the brainchild of my friend Ismail Murono, who wrote the first of the script. He told me he had a good story he felt I might be interested in. He sent it to me. I loved the idea and I knew exactly how we were going to approach it. First, the draft was in English, including the old woman's dialogue. That had to change. I translated the whole 27 page script into my vernacular, Ekegusii (Kikisii). And I have to say, the main ingredient that attracted me to the script was the premise. Witchcraft is a largely talked about idea among and about the Abagusii people. I'd thought about and wanted to make a film about it, but till then, I'd never got the courage to do it, and scripting in my vernacular was especially hard. But now that I had a template to work from, it was surprisingly very easy.” The director Sammy Kibagendi narrates during an interview.

A lot of research has been put into the film with consultations with Sammy’s actual grandmother being involved. “She made a joke about it that actually guided the tone and direction the film finally took. She said, "omorogi nime yao are, onye kogwanchera enyachieni ekorae, na Keri ogokwana nakio oborogi bwao, nabo ogosesenia gose oragererie, oagaache gose osarie, nomonwa oo. Nekio nakio kegogokora omorogi omuya gose omobe.", which means, "witchcraft is inside you if you allow darkness into your heart, and whatever you speak, that's your witchcraft. You bless or you curse, you build or you destroy, with your words, and that's what makes you either a good witch or an evil witch". Continues Sammy.

“The cast in the initial drafts was hard to get. Casting has been one of my main challenges working in Kisii, as there are no professional actors. It's incredibly hard to get actors, especially the older than 30 age groups. Film is still a relatively foreign concept in this region, and the few people who have interest in it only do it as a hobby. So I had to re-adapt the story yet again to fit the age set, calibre and even gender of the actors I knew I could find. And to make it easy to shoot, I reduced the number of speaking characters by half (only 4 characters speak in the movie+ 3 extras) and locations to only 2.”

The film took a total of 6 days to complete including preproduction, shooting and editing.

Watch the film below


Produced by Aston Osoro and Collis Nyatichi under the production name 254 films, the film was first screened on August 1 2015 in an event sponsored by Ignite Africa and on August 3rd and 5th in independently organized events and on August 7th as part of the International Youth Week Celebrations. An estimated total of 1700 people attended these screenings and the reviews have been really good.

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